Over the years reading stuff on YGS I've found some hauntings so bizarre for the people experiencing them. But if viewed through the perspective of a ghost who lived with a mental illness could follow some logic. Obviously not all hauntings can be, shouldn't be, explained away by a mental illness. I don't believe everyone necessarily carries their emotional or mental state with them on the other side. But I've come to believe occasionally some do to some extent for one reason or another.
If I didn't know the woman/ghost in this haunting I don't know if I'd have connected the dots. I'd like you to meet V, my stepmum's mother.
V was/is a pretty typical Australian woman. Wicked sense of humour, very outspoken and opinionated about everything. Friendly, always up for a chat. Never without a cigarette (or two) on the go. Loved animals, had a lot of pets. Hated swearing, her catchphrase would be 'DON'T SWEAR!' It's what she'd yell if she ever heard you swearing. My stepmum's father swore a fair bit. Their pet parrot learned to repeat 'DON'T SWEAR!', in V's voice, it was pretty classic.
V passed away in 1995 or '96 after a long struggle with something. She didn't want her family to know what she was dying from. But everyone assumed it was lung related because she chain smoked all her life. Her family likely knew towards the end, but I have never known.
My stepmother has had a long interest in what used to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. V likely suffered from this condition throughout her life, however she was never formally diagnosed. Partly because she didn't trust doctors and partly because this condition was seldom taken seriously in the mainstream back then. Therefore research and findings were scarce.
Regardless of what you call it this condition presents as distinct breaks in personality and identity, dizzy and/or fainting spells, memory or time loss, severe headaches and/or migraines. It's brought on by severe and chronic early childhood trauma, with the majority being chronic sexual abuse at an early age.
I've known V since I've known my stepmum, C, which would be since around 1987, when I was about six.
My stepmother, C, told me about the condition when I was about twelve. I remember saying how I thought that stuff only happened in movies. I couldn't believe it. She went on to tell me how it's formed and the criteria for diagnosis. I have to admit as a young lass I found it morbidly fascinating.
It wasn't until years after V's passing that C told me why and how she became interested in the condition. Up until I was about 20, I didn't know anything was wrong with V. C began telling me the things V used to do, most I had no knowledge of, and how V had ticked every diagnosis criteria. I began to understand a handful of bizarre behaviour I'd witnessed from V growing up.
While V was alive I wasn't around her long enough to really notice much, but for a handful of moments. Probably averaged about two to three hours with V at a time around four times a year. So not a lot of time to build a big picture.
The first time V 'haunted me' was not long after she had passed, mid 1990's. Maybe within the same year. We, my brother and I, stayed at dad and C's place every second weekend.
C had lost a piece of jewellery, I don't remember what it was.
C was sure she'd lost it at home and she was getting distraught. She spent the afternoon and evening looking everywhere. We were asked not to wear shoes inside and not to walk along the parameter of the lounge room incase it had fallen off a windowsill. Stepmum isn't the tidiest person. Anyway she couldn't find it.
That evening, or next morning, I had a dream. In the dream it was morning. I floated from the spare room, where I slept, down the hallway, through the lounge room, into the kitchen. V was sitting on a kitchen chair directly in front of the fridge. I floated up to her she said: "Tell T it's behind the curtain." I woke up, it was morning. Don't remember if I got up or went back to sleep.
In the dream V called my stepmum, C, by the nickname her family call her.
Might be worth mentioning I had started learning about astral travel and the like at the time. Which may have made a difference.
Stepmum doesn't believe in anything supernatural. So I was definitely not going to pass on the message. Later that evening she found her jewellery behind the curtain in their bedroom. I thought it would be behind the lounge curtain and had been waiting for an opportunity to go look. We were still under instruction not to walk the perimeter of that room, lest we trod on it. They had the carpet from hell back then, it swallowed everything.
The rest of the night was my exasperated dad yelling about why couldn't she look after her jewellery better and how could she not know what room it was in etc. Stepmum still puts jewellery in random places.
In the dream V was sat in front of the fridge. For reasons unknown to me the fridge was off limits for us kids while in V's presence. I know it had something to do with opening the door all the way. Looking back now I'd say it was a kind of trigger for her. Whenever she was there the fridge would be opened the least amount possible. Regardless of whose place you were at.
V hoarded scissors. Don't know why. Their kitchen was filled with pairs of scissors. Apparently the kitchen drawers were packed full of more scissors. So many scissors.
Over ten years ago I had a pair of scissors go missing. I was doing some gardening and came in to get the scissors for the packaging of I don't recall what. Couldn't find the scissors. I'm the opposite of my stepmum, I know where everything is, pretty fastidious about it. After a day or so I buy a new pair of scissors, put them in the same place the old ones were. In a cup on the kitchen bench. Same day I come back inside from gardening and there's the old flipping scissors on the bench, clear as day, next to the cup the new ones are still standing in.
I start thinking about V and scissors and wonder if she wants me to start a scissors collection. This reminds me of all the times as a teenager the scissors would go missing in the home. Which made me wonder if she was to blame for all those scissors too. I found the whole notion extremely annoying. Scissors went AWOL a few times after that and would turn up a few days later in some obvious place somewhere in the kitchen. I didn't buy anymore new ones, however.
When B, V's husband and stepmum's father, passed away the scissors activity stopped. B was a great guy and had a calming effect on V. So I was glad it appeared to be the same in the hereafter.
Years ago I wrote about an event at Christmas with some thumping in a room full of people. I believe the thumping was one of my dad's friends who had passed. Because of the nature of the conversation and also the location the thumping seemed to be coming from. My dad and stepmum explained the thumping by way of a wayward fox, which made zero sense to anyone but them. There was more thumping that Christmas, but I believe on this occasion it was V.
Stepmum and I were driving down the freeway, me the passenger. It was the afternoon, there had been some strong wind the previous night. A lot of branches were scattered around the road. Stepmum commented that the council had chosen the wrong kind of trees for the location. There was a bang on or in the car. I got a fright but my stepmum didn't, kept talking about the council. I said I thought there was a branch stuck in the wheel. Stepmum said it was ok. There was no more noise but I kept watch in the passenger side mirror. Waiting for a branch to be flung somewhere. Then another bang. These bangs were really loud. I suggested we pull over because it didn't sound like the kind of noise you ignore. She brushed it off. A couple more bangs.
My family, I just don't know, words fail me sometimes. If you've read the fox experience this will ring as familiar, as it did to me in the car. I started to wonder if the bangs were coinciding with unladylike language. Stepmum, C, changed the subject. The bangs timed thusly;
C: "I've been watching Downtown Abbey."
Me: "What are you watching that sh*t for?"
C: "I know, your father hates it too. But there was this bit, you would have loved it. This guy's ulcer burst and it was f***ing brilliant. (BANG!) The only thing that sh*t me was (BANG!) the blood should have been black, and there should have been way more of it."
She then told me about these burst ulcers at the hospital where she works. More banging. I said it was naïve to expect Martin Scorsese realism in a production aimed at the Agatha Christie audience. Which sort of ended the topic. The banging ended when C stopped talking about Downtown Abbey and hospital gore.
It's very odd being the only one taking something bizarre seriously.
I wondered if the banging was V visiting for Christmas because it seemed to time with the swearing. Plus V hated any talk of gore. That and my stepmother's attitude to the banging was not unlike the fox night. It could have been my father's mate banging for joy at the gruesome discussion, which I could also believe. But doubt because the banging in the car was so violent, it seemed angry, not like the foot stomping dad's mate would do.
A few years ago I had a bit of a meltdown after this very Christmas. I actually came on here asking for advice on how to handle nonbelievers. I felt like a bit of a dill the next day, but it resulted in some cool advice and a new perspective. That discussion is buried somewhere in the comments to one of my earlier submissions to the site. This following event is what tipped me. I didn't want to write about it back then, needed to put some space between it.
Few days after the car day I was at dad and C's for a New Years or Christmas thing. Back then I used to visit Melbourne for a few weeks at Christmas. I would either borrow cars or carpool from here to there. On this evening dad was driving me back to mum's place.
It was getting late, everyone had left, the weather was cold and their heater was on. (Melbourne summers are weird.) There was a Christmas card on top of the mantel clock. The warm air from the gas heater was rising in just the right spot to make the card on the clock do a jig. It swayed from side to side. As I noticed it first I said: "Hey look, ghost of Christmas past." Unbeknownst to me this was the worst thing to say.
Dad had a brief defensive reaction until he saw the card. Stepmum came in from another room, also a bit defensive asking "What's this?", I explained about the card. She too calmed. Then I asked dad about a ghost he saw many years ago. To which he said "Oh yeah I saw (can't submit his experience as I wasn't there, but he calmly retells the event.) " Then he all but snaps and shouts "BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS! THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS AND I DIDN'T SEE ANY GHOST AND THERE'S NO AFTERLIFE OR HEAVEN..."
I mean you get the idea. It was suddenly on like Donkey Kong. My dad, the guy I used to talk about ghosts with when I was a kid had turned into Richard Dawkins. Seemingly out of nowhere. Then my stepmum started talking about how they've proved that people who see ghosts are having a type of epileptic seizure. While dad still yelled about having never seen any ghosts. This went on for about ten minutes in the house and continued in the car on the drive back. All the freaking way until I bid them goodbye and went inside. Lasted about half an hour all up.
I usually get carsick in the backseat so dad and stepmum always like me in the front. The drive back sucked, dad wouldn't calm down. I kind of went numb and tried not to prod the beast any further. Stepmum kept chiming in from the backseat about how she loves it that people never see animal ghosts only human ghosts. I bit my tongue there, I know what BS that is. They were feeding off each other, I'd opted out of the discussion.
Stepmum said something which prompted me to look around the back at her, doing so out of politeness. I don't remember what was said, just that it was anti ghost. But I saw two people in the back seat instead of just her.
Stepmum was sitting behind the drivers seat, looking out of the passenger window. Which I thought was odd, because she was addressing me. Split second after I noticed the other figure in the back. It had V's tracksuit pants and slippers on and the black jumper.
One of the few behavioral shifts I'd seen from V growing up is that sometimes V had a black jumper on. This was strange because she hated black. Hated people wearing black, said it looked like you were dressed for a funeral. She always wore colourful clothing. Whenever she had the black jumper on she was aloof. No eye contact except if it was to yell briefly at someone for coming near her. She wanted to be left alone. It didn't make much sense. I knew about depression as a child, I think I must have assumed something along those lines.
I looked at the face of the figure in the black jumper and saw V's glasses and hair but her skin looked burned or charred. I can't say how transparent or solid this apparition was because I looked straight ahead immediately and stayed fixed on the road ahead, and my shoes, for the rest of the journey. I also don't know if my stepmum saw anything or if that's why she was turned in the other direction.
Can only assume that all this dialogue REALLY p***ed V off enough to tip her over the edge. I don't know what the charred appearance is all about. Perhaps that's how that part of her perceives himself/herself. I wonder if the heightened emotion in the car made it easy for her to appear in the back. I also wonder how long she'd been there, had she followed us from the house? Was she in the car all the time? How long has she been in black jumper mode? Was black jumper mode responsible for the banging on the car that day?
So many questions.
Pretty shaken up that evening. Got in, immediately asked my guardian (not the Tweed guy, another one I wrote about years ago) to take V/Black jumper alter, whoever, back to her husband B, or back to where ever she should be because it ain't healthy for her here.
That was the last time I was visited by V. I've had a couple of dreams about her. In these dreams she's herself. She tells me to tell everyone she's still here. So probably visitation dreams. One of my grandmothers does this too, but more politely. Think they've teamed up in the afterlife.
Like my stepmum I've carried on learning about this condition over the years. My feeling is it's part of PTSD. But it's how PTSD manifests within a developing mind and as such requires different treatment and diagnosis. It's astonishing the ability of the mind to preserve itself.
Whatever condition V had in life seems to have followed her, to some extent, to the great beyond. I guess whatever you don't deal with in life you must deal with on the other side. According to the dreams she's doing okay now.
Anyone could be forgiven for thinking 'demon!' Or other entity if they'd seen V in the back of the car. I don't know what I would have thought, had I not known her.
Thanks for reading.