I think history is not always something we simply hear about. Sometimes, we can experience a brief moment of it. Whether it is residual, or a glimpse of a soul long since passed.
I would like to tell you two stories, not my own experiences, but ones belonging to my great grandparents, told to me by their daughter, my grandmother. These are the only stories I have of them, except for another regarding my great grandfather. The one of my great grandmother I mentioned briefly in my previous post, and I will start with that one.
" I only ever saw my mother pale and scared once. She didn't want to frighten us kids, so for many many years she refused to tell us, but we never forgot seeing her like that, and eventually she told us what happened that evening. " - Grandmother.
It was a late winter evening. Starlit heavens floating above the clear snow covered mountain tops in the distance. Every now and then along the side of the valley, there would be the slightest light from candles burning in other homes, and the ever present sound of the river in the middle.
Inside their living room, flames were dancing in the fireplace, her younger sister was crawling on the floor playing with their kitten, alongside some of the other younger siblings. It was an usual winter evening in the house, nothing out of the ordinary.
Her mother said she would be right back, then she proceeded to exit the house. We all know that in those days, they did not have the luxury of indoor-toilets. And their outdoors toilet was placed in a distance from the main house so that privacy was an easier matter. But with the low temperature and the cold snow, great grandmother decided to rather go behind the house to do her quick business. I remember giggling a little, trying to imagine her in this situation, as did my grandmother.
My great grandmother pulled up her skirt and 'sat down'. In front of her was the view of the mountains, and the long, untouched blanket of white glittery snow draped across their field. The snow slightly illuminated the otherwise dark surroundings, so she could tell if any of the children had followed her outside, or if by some weird instance, a neighbour had come to visit this late.
She had only just sat down, when things took an eerie turn. From somewhere on the field in front of her, she heard the unmistakable sound of heavy footsteps. Every step that crushed the slightly hard outer shell of the snow. She sat perfectly still, hiding, trying to see the person responsible for the steps, but there was no one there. Still, the footsteps became ever so clearer the closer they got, and the closer they got, the more she could hear the sound of breathing. A breath of somebody tired of the steep walk up the field in the deep snow. She was quick to get back up, to get a higher view, but there was no one there, and furthermore, there were no footsteps in the snow where she had heard them.
It was quiet again, as she looked for the source of the sounds. But as quickly as they disappeared, the peace was broken again. As she stood there gazing, a heavy outwards breath came from just inches in front of her face, feeling the warmth of it against her cheeks. Whoever it was, was now standing directly in front of her.
My grandmother, nor me, have no idea what this spirit was about. Was it a friendly warning? Maybe not so friendly? Was it residual? Could it be the spirit whom they knew of already? What do you think? Footsteps both outside as well as inside was a common happening in her childhood home.
Then of course there is the story of my great grandfather, him I have mentioned before.
On this field beneath their house, there was a smaller house which once upon a time was the main residence on the farm, before the new one built higher up. This little house now served its purpose more for small gatherings. Such as a small 'party' among great grandfather and his friends.
Here I do not know what time of year it was in terms of seasons, or if it was a special occasion concerning the party, but I do know this:
The party dragged on through the night. My great grandfather however, had probably too much to drink, and he had fallen asleep whilst his company was still very much awake.
By the time the morning came, the company had left, and therefore one would presume my great grandfather would awake alone. But he didn't. He had said that he had woken up to complete silence, but there was in fact another person there with him. A woman. She was standing in the middle of the room with her hands folded neatly. She made no movements, but looked at him steadily with a slight and kind smile on her face.
Great grandfather did not recognize the woman. Not only had he never seen her before, but the clothes she wore, this dress of hers, was also something that was new to him. The style of it.
He was of course startled by this stranger's presence and her strange attire, but still he was a polite man and bid her good morning. The woman merely smiled a little more. He sat up, and thought that perhaps he was simply being forgetful, but still, he knew of just about everyone, as people does in such small communities, and she was not one he'd either seen nor heard of before. Surely someone with such clothes would have been mentioned among people. He figured that perhaps she was one out of town, visiting, perhaps she was a friend of his wife.
He asked for her name, but received information of other sorts in return, as her smile grew even larger and she calmly spoke again. " You don't know me, after all, I died a long time ago. " Even more confused and startled, he watched as she turned to the side and whilst doing so, she simply vanished into thin air.
My great grandfather never knew who this woman was, and anyone he asked, had never heard of her either. It was absolutely one of the more creepy experiences he had had, but that did not stop him from throwing an occasional party in that little residence again. I have entertained the thought that maybe he visited the place from time to time on his own, just to see if she would appear again. I believe I would have done so, but then again, that is very easy to say when I only heard of this, instead of living it. Still, I could always go back to the place where it once stood.
What baffles me the most of this, is the short exchange of words between them. She must have sounded just as any living person. I have seen a spirit so lifelike that I could not tell it apart from the living, so I can understand that part of the story. But I have never heard a voice so clear and alive. Mostly just whispers and what sounds like echoes within the house.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!
Ps: I have a bad habit of writing what I see when I tell a story I've been told, or experienced myself. Although they might be colorful, the quotations and story itself is not pictured any differently than what I was told myself, other than the fact that I translate these from Norwegian to English.
Merry christmas to all of you!