This is about a ghost I think of as a guardian. Over the last 14 or so years I've learned ways to communicate with him and we have a good understanding of each other. Outside of intentional communications I've had many unexpected moments with him, many small, few major. These are the few major unexpected moments.
Approximately 1983 (Just to clarify, this first one happened in Australia where I grew up.)
Can't be sure of exact date for this but I was around age 2.
We lived in a medium sized house on a medium sized block. I loved this place, would spend hours outside in the tree crowded garden which backed on to an open field. (Queue Supertramp's Logical Song!)
My mum would put me on her hip and we'd pick fruit from the trees which lined our back fence which backed onto the field.
The back fence wasn't very high, I'd guess it was 4ft high. Low enough to get a good view of the field when I was on mum's hip.
One morning we were picking fruit here. There was a man standing on the other side of the fence. He was right at the fence about 3 meters to the left from where we were. So he wasn't directly in front of us. He was looking right at me, smiling, he was very still, simply standing there. He wore old fashioned clothing, had pale white skin with dark features. He looked to be aged around 50 to 60. I looked at him for a couple seconds then hid my face in mum's hair out of shyness. Somehow I knew he wasn't like us. When I looked back he was gone. Mum acted as if no one was there.
This was the first time I saw him.
As a toddler sometimes he would talk to me without me seeing him. His sentences were constructed in ways I couldn't understand. As an adult I realise he talks in a fashion from his era. I can't remember exactly what he used to say. I don't know how I knew it was him, it was like instinct. The voice matched the look. He spoke with an English accent, Londoner's I guess, definitely not Northern. His speech was slow and precise. His clothes and hairstyle I've since narrowed from 1900's to 1910's.
He was the first ghost I ever saw. I didn't see him or hear him at all after I started school. For years he was a strange memory.
Because of something which happened this year I recently asked my mum if she'd seen him that day by the fence. Mum replied that she never saw anyone in that field the entire time we lived there.
Right at the beginning of 2001 I went through a 'non believer nihilist' phase. Absolute stupidity, but I did it. Wanted to try what it was like to be 'normal'. Even though I had by now encountered many ghosts including the dancer from another story. The non believer argument seemed so plausible (convenient) and intelligent (reliable) to me at 19. It lasted for a good 8 months. It never felt or sat right with me. However I gave it a good run until...
Late one September Saturday night I was driving home from a party. I was driving alone, hardly any traffic about. I looked in my rear view mirror to change lanes and there he was. The man from my childhood sitting in the back seat looking sternly back at me in the mirror. Completely solid. To say I was scared would be an abomination of language. I bricked it.
In that second, which stretched on forever, a streetlight ran up across his face. Up close I saw how other wordly and eerie he was. A detail I long assumed was childhood exaggeration. I looked back again but he had disappeared. Thankfully I wasn't far from home and managed to hold it together. Dreaded every mirror check for the remaining journey.
Couldn't sleep that night and thought long and hard about what just happened and every other ghost encounter throughout my life. That was the abrupt end to my non believer phase.
Bought my first digital camera, back in the day before they became an afterthought to phones. But I digress. The first days I had my camera I took photos of everything. One photo of my bedroom had him in it! Not his face, just his torso, as the photo was taken on an angle his face was out of frame. But those unmistakable old fashioned clothes were standing right there in my room. Guess what I did next? Freaked out and deleted it! What a great idea!
Why oh why did I do this? FOR PETE SAKE! To this day I can't fathom doing something so dumb. Guess I wasn't out of my non believer phase yet.
The dreams started. Dreams of him would always involve violence of some kind, graphic in nature, usually involving me being killed by him. Always vivid and include physical pain which I would sometimes faintly feel the next day. As bad as all this sounds I never felt threatened by him. Looking back on these dreams now I see them as a kind of exorcism. Kind of. An exorcism of 'non believer' traits. The dreams had me terrified while I was in them but to remember them in waking hours I felt a sense of calm, always. I would dream of him at least once a week. But my nihilist dabblings well and truly ended in 2001 when I saw him in the back of my car.
By now the dreams were far less frequent and the violence in them ended. This is a man of few words, he hardly ever speaks verbally, but when he does it's direct and to the point. Now dreams with him came as warnings of when something bad was about to happen.
I use past tense because I haven't had a dream like this for a while, which I'm glad of. When I get a warning from him in a dream I really take notice because they have all come true. I can't give details of any of the warnings as none of them are about me directly. I feel his motives are to prepare me for horrible news before I hear it.
Started seeing him unexpectedly upon entering a room, usually my studio (musician here). I gasp, he looks toward me. I back out of the room and wait a few seconds for him to 'disappear'. Nothing scary about it, just the shock of him being there. This happens quite a bit, once or twice a month. It never happened before last year though.
These odd surprises are pretty minor but worth a mention because of what happened recently.
Weekend in March I was expecting a friend to drop by. I saw her car enter our driveway and ran excited to the front door.
Couple quirks of mine;
1) I love watching the daylight disappear from the house and leave lights off for as long as I can. It was twilight outside but pretty dark in the house.
2) I'm light footed and on the quiet side.
I ran up the hall which turns to the left to the front door. Our front door has a narrow window next to it with a curtain which is always drawn. It's always dark in this entrance part. As I reached the door with my hand out to open it I slammed into someone already standing there and copped a handful of really cold someone!
I looked up at the narrow window beside the door because the curtain wasn't drawn but pulled back. I couldn't see this as I bolted towards the door because he was in the way. He's taller than me and blocked the light from the crack in the curtain he was holding open. Urgh. In a split second he spun around and glared wide eyed at me. *shivers* I'd seen that look before in dreams. I screamed, then did something I really can't believe I actually did. I pushed him and yelled "What the f...?!" He shot me a look that said 'right back at you' and abruptly disappeared. Which made me scream again! I realised I'd just touched him TWICE and did the spider shake, you know that 'erugh get it off me!' shake. Effing and blinding the whole time. The ordeal lasted all but 10 seconds, if that.
I opened the door and went out to greet my friend. I must have looked blotto, she asked:
"You alright? Who's the guy?"
Her music was blaring from the car stereo so figured she hadn't heard the raucous. I looked back at the opened front door, there was nothing there. I realised she must have seen him through the window. It might sound strange but I was now jubilant this had happened and that she'd seen him too, I started laughing hysterically! I rushed up and hugged her like some reality bozo who'd been kicked off a crap show.
Once inside I started telling her what happened and she demanded I turn the lights on. Fair call.
I thought he must have been watching who was rolling in the driveway. But my friend said the curtain flapped wide open which made her look, she saw him looking toward the side of the house, not straight ahead at the driveway. She parked and looked back but the curtain was closed. This might have been when he spun around to face me. Maybe holding the curtain when he turned around and caused it to briefly 'flap' wide, then fall closed.
We played CSI over that for a while.
One thing I'm confident of is it's a fluke. I believe he didn't mean this to happen. The detail about him looking at the side of the house is quite unsettling. I think I know why. That's a story for another time, not a nice one.
But back to this. Always thought coldness was Hollywood nonsense. I only touched his clothes but they felt like he'd stepped out of a fridge!
Later that night, after my friend went home, I was on the piano. Having a little jam before bed, a regular jaunt. I was alone, playing away and felt what I'm sure was a hand rub my left upper arm slowly in an upwards and downwards motion. Felt like a comforting gesture, I didn't feel threatened. The contact was cold again, temperature wise.
I stopped playing but kept the sustain pedal down. So the notes were ringing. Not sure why but felt if I released the sustain that the silence would discourage him somehow. It's a grand and the lid was up. Fearing I'd see him in the reflection I kept thinking 'don't look at the lid, don't look at the lid'. I stared at the keys and said "Sorry I pushed you", then slowly raised my right hand to touch his on my left arm. He pulled away as my hand got closer.
I don't know if he was visually solid this time. My hair was dangling in my peripheral. Also it's silly I freaked out about the lid because I wouldn't have been able to see him from that angle anyway. I didn't look back, wanted to but I didn't want to at the same time. Had a feeling he didn't want me to either. It was a really nice moment. Bizarre but totally nice.
I'd never touched him or been touched by him before this.
In some ways bumping into him was a long time coming. I should wear a bell. I haven't seen him since that evening. I feel his presence around the house, that's it. Maybe he's laying low. I hope not, I miss seeing him around.
Thanks for reading.
(For some reason the 'preview' of this didn't match the way I typed it. Preview has given some sections a new paragraph. Not too big of a deal, it still makes sense.)