This experience has remained my secret for nearly forty years. It didn't make any sense when it happened. And no matter where I searched, I just could not find another experience to compare it to that was in any way similar to what occurred that day. I had nearly given up trying. (Funny how things happen once you stop searching so hard for that one piece of the puzzle)
Recently, while discussing things of the paranormal nature with a dear friend of mine, I was asked "What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?". And after all this time, I let my standard reply to that question die on my lips. It took a couple of weeks, but I went ahead and revealed to him an episode from long ago.
This happened when I was still in high school. I had a babysitting gig three days a week and it paid very well. I was always on time, always on my best behaviour, and they were really great kids as well. It was also nice that they only lived about a mile from the school. I would walk over right after 6th period, get there a little early in case she needed to leave early she would be free to do so. Everything worked out perfectly for both of us.
Only this day was just a weird day all around. It was as if the whole day was a long chain of episodes of very intense deja vu. I could tell what was going to happen in each class, at break, lunch, every passing hour it just got freakier. I got to the point where I wasn't even telling anyone about it anymore. In fact, I had stopped talking to people altogether sometime before lunch and spent the rest of the school day watching things unfold. I knew what things were going to occur, just as they eventually did. It was insane! I didn't know what was going on, but it was so cool that I didn't want it to stop. By the time school was over I was starting to get used to it.
As I was leaving school to head up to my babysitting gig, I headed up the side street next to the school and crossed over to take the shortcut through a place we used to call the 'Hollow' (no special reason for the name, we just called it that). I did this all the time when there was no snow on the ground, and there wasn't any then. On the other side of the Hollow was the road that led up the hill to the front door of where I was headed. You couldn't go past that road once you stepped out of the Hollow or you'd go off the edge of a steep ravine and end up in the creek. No, there were only two ways to go, up the hill to her house or down the hill to the highway. So I head on up the hill as usual.
Half way up I started to feel like I was in the wrong place. Things weren't right, and I started to look around a little more as I walked. I began to realize that nothing looked familiar to me. NOTHING! I'd been walking that same route for months. I knew this area like I knew my own bedroom. This is a small town, you don't just get lost especially if you live there. I stopped walking and looked around for a minute. Nothing looked familiar, absolutely nothing. I was getting kind of freaked out by this time, I looked down toward the highway and it was gone. No highway. You have to understand, it would be the same as you walking out to your back yard and after 50 feet you were lost and everything was different. So I decided to turn around and go back the way I came. From there I would take the surface streets and just go on my way. Well, I went back to the other side of the Hollow and everything was as it should be nothing odd, nothing out of place. I stood there looking around in disbelief. The whole day had been so freaking strange!
It was at this point that I was beginning to worry about my mental state. I was seriously thinking that maybe I was going nuts. I mean, you don't know what goes through people's heads, really, when they start slipping into some mental disorder. And I was starting to believe that maybe I was. To prove to myself that I was sane, I decided to try the shortcut again. Just to see what would happen. I walked through the Hollow, came out on the opposite side, stepped onto the road and stopped. I looked up the road, then down the road, and everything was back to where it was supposed to be. The highway was there at the bottom of the road. All the original houses were back to where they should be. All I could do was walk up the street and step up to her front door and knock. I went in and right away she said I didn't look so good. I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn't really look like me, I looked...darker. Well, that was about all I could take. She offered to take me home and I took her up on it. I was afraid of what would happen next and I didn't want the kids to be caught up in whatever I was going through. So I went home, got something to eat, and then I just went to bed. I figured I'd be safe there, and I was. I slept through the night, felt great the next day, and never told a soul about it for years that was until two months ago.
I don't know what possessed me to let all this out after so long, but I did. And let me tell you, we went through so many scenarios and possibilities. Then my friend said something that hit home, he said he found it interesting that when I looked in the mirror, after reaching the home where I was to baby sit that day, that I said I didn't look like myself. He then noted that in my story "Sweet Little Sister", when I looked in the mirror at the gas station where we had stopped for gas, I looked like my sister. My hair had gone curly like hers, my chin, everything. To the point that even my daughter noticed I looked like Sheila. So he asks me if I can recall anyone dying or going missing from our small town at the time the episode occurred. But it was so long ago that I had no recollection whatsoever of anything like that happening. However, I have an old friend who works for the local paper and maybe he could help. After finally making contact with him, the trail again ran cold nothing.
Frustrated as hell, and at the point of once again giving up, I took a gamble. I looked up the name of one of the kids that I babysat back then in the phone book. Yes, he still lives there. And 'lo and behold' his mother is still alive, AND living with his family! I asked to speak to her and she was handed the phone. Our conversation went on for a little while, we had some catching up to do, but I finally asked her what was on my mind. Did she remember that day she took me home instead of having me baby sit?
This was such a long shot and once I asked it, I immediately felt like a fool. It dawned on me how odd it was for me to expect her to even remember me, much less that single day in a life of so many days... I held my breath. I almost thought the connection had gone dead, but she finally spoke. Yes, she remembered that day, it was the day her sister Betty had died (back east somewhere). And had she gone to work that night, she would have missed the call. She would never forget that day for as long as she lived. Now, why was it so important to me? So I told her what happened to me that day. We finished our call. The rest of our conversation will remain private. Except one thing she said to me "You remind me so much of Patte right now". Patte was my mother. Now, since that part always makes me cry, I'm going to let my friend, without whom I never would have revisited that crazy day, finish the rest for me.
(To protect the privacy of these two women, we won't be using their real names)
"Betty went to visit her sister that day. Even though she knew the news would eventually reach her, she wanted to see her sister happy. If she appeared to her, or entered the house as herself... It would only turn things bad, quickly. So how could she see her sister, interact to some limited degree with her sister, but not alert her sister to the bad news?
She's new to the spirit world, but her senses are no longer as they were in her body. She not only suddenly knows the answers and reasons for everything she lived through and every mystery of her life... But she also knows what is going to happen. Someone is going to see her sister. It is a teenage girl who her sister is familiar and friendly with. She immediately knows that her sister trusts this person, her sister will not be afraid of her. She decides that this person is going to help her into the house, to be close to her sister one last time.
But remember, her spirit-only existence just started a few minutes ago when she got hit by the truck (rear-ended, actually). She knows she can enter the teenage girl's body, and that body can take her where she wants to go, anonymously. The problem is she comes on too strong, too soon. A human spirit is like a pulse of...energy. A...surge... That pushes in, in waves. They need to be subtle or their presence could be disclosed without them even wanting it to be. When she saw you and pushed in...Well, her approach was a bit hot. She buzzed the tower, scrambled the radar, and her vessel lost all conscious recognition of the world around it. She knew she had disabled you, and every usable part of her taxi to her sister's house was ready for the shop... And she was left standing there wondering how the hell she was going to
Get to her destination when she didn't even know where she was. She backed out, allowed you to reorient yourself, get your bearings... And she tagged along much more subtle... Like she originally intended. There is a first time for everything... Even in the spirit world."