Do you believe in ghosts?
What about when you are alone, and the dark has settled in around you? The house shifts and creaks itself into position for the night, and the older, more primeval connections in the human brain switch on, alerting us to all that is outside of our norm, amplifying each sound, or whisper of breath, that surrounds us.
In daylight, it is much easier to be logical. In daylight, the sun sweeps up the shadows and packs them away for the day, leaving us rational and with heads that are clear. Do you believe in ghosts? Your answer may differ depending on the time at which you are reading this, and the company you are keeping.
If you are keeping no company, and are perhaps alone, then ghosts can be easier to believe in. If we have lost family members, then the very concept of a life after the one that we are now living, is one to hold us steady, for the alternative is almost too much for our human selves to comprehend.
There are things in life that are inexplicable, things that seem beyond coincidence and that are, in many ways, too much for our logic to handle.
I’ve had experiences in my own life that seem to point to there being something after death. I am not religious, but there are 6 main world religions, and they can’t all be right, yet all suggest different versions of what will occur when we die. I am therefore not suggesting that our souls, should they exist, go ‘somewhere’, but I do wonder whether or not the force that makes you ‘you’, exists in some uncontained form.
My grandfather, for unknown reasons, was obsessed with his garages. He had allowed people to store things in them over the years and when he asked them to remove it all, repeatedly, they simply left it in there. Subsequently, my husband and I had these garages cleared last year, and my grandad was thrilled about it.
He passed away a month or so later, and on the morning after he died, we popped notes through the doors of all the neighbours that he considered friends, and one of these, a lovely lady named Maria, came over to speak to us in the afternoon.
Maria told us that, although she had not seen my grandfather for years, she had dreamt of him that night, the night that he died, and had come downstairs, still highly aware of that dream, to find our note waiting on the doormat. In the dream, my grandfather had been stood in one of his garages, the door open, surrounded by men in overcoats. He was facing her, and he smiled and they waved to one another.
Two days later, my husband and I met my mother who had agreed to drive my grandad’s car back to the house for us. I gave her the keys and said that we would meet her there, and we all set off, my mother travelling behind us. The plan was to finally use the fabled-garages, now that they were clear, to store the car inside.
However, as we approached the house, the garage door – for which there was no key and which we could only unlock from the inside – stood wide open. Wide open, as if awaiting the arrival of someone, or something.
My rational self says ‘coincidence’. My rational self also, occasionally, pipes up with ‘what if?’ Food for thought.
First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 12th April 2016. This will be my final Tuesday column with The News, and I shall be making my Saturday debut with a larger and central-page column on the 23rd April 2016! Thank you for reading – without readers, there would be no words.