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Nov 25

Ghostly encounters 2

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in My life

In my last post I didn’t get round to telling about family members’ and relatives’ ghostly experiences. I think I might have mentioned some of these before, but maybe not here.

My aunt (my father’s older half sister – one of them anyway – long story) seems to have been a little psychic. She told dad a story about how she’d seen some ghosts or at least unexplainable phenomena.

When she was about ten years old, her grandfather lay dying in the little cottage where they all lived (or used to). By then, I think only my aunt, her youngest aunt and her grandfather were still around. Anyway, I imagine that since the cottage was so small, they couldn’t have my aunt lying in the same room with her dying grandfather, so they’d moved her bed out into the hallway outside.

Someone very tall and odd-looking came into the hallway, bent over my aunt and laughed weirdly in her face.

To be honest, I’m not one hundred percent sure if this was an actual haunting, though I suppose it could be. I’m more inclined to believe that it was my aunt’s youngest aunt (who by all accounts was a very mean, unpleasant woman, that my dad used to call ‘seven blocks’ and also named a very wind tortured pine the same thing, after his aunt). She might have been quite young at the time, being the very youngest of several children and I imagine she would have been shaken up by her father just dying. Since she didn’t draw the line at slapping my aunt’s face even when she was about thirty years old, until my aunt had enough and moved away from her aunt, she might easily have wanted to scare her little niece.

Later, when my aunt was grown up but probably still quite young, she was lying in bed trying to go to sleep, when her wall suddenly opened up and a group of men looking like monks or friars came into her room, carrying a coffin. The coffin lid opened and a friend of my aunt’s was lying in it. She sat up and began to make conversation, then after a while, the monks or friars closed the lid and carried her and the coffin out again, through the wall, that closed behind them. The next day, my aunt found out that her friend had died during the night, quite unexpectedly at a very young age. I’d just like to add, that although it’s perfectly possible that the friend could have been a Catholic, my aunt wasn’t and no one in my family that I’ve heard of has ever been (though naturally all our ancestors must have been at one time, or rather whatever it was called before there was a Protestant church).

My dad and his parents used to live in an old apartment somewhere in Stockholm. His parents had put him quite far away from their bedroom so he wouldn’t bother them. Yes, that was the kind of family he grew up in. One night when he had been staying awake until quite late, reading, he saw a dark shape over the far wall. It scared him, but for a dare, he turned out the light anway, to prove to himself he wasn’t a sissy. Then after a while, he couldn’t resist turning the light back on again, and found that the shape had moved closer to the bed. That happened a couple of times more until the thing bent down over dad and he says he must have passed out for a while from fear.

In this case, I think it’s perfectly possible that dad was reading some kind of scary story and scared himself that night. He definitely loved reading ghost stories and horror so it might have been memories from something else he’d read. In any case, he could easily have fallen asleep and had a bad dream. But that’s how he told the story to me anyway. Who knows?

My adopted brother was a very difficult guy when growing up. He drank from an early age, took illegal substances to grow muscle (anabolic steroids or something like that, helpfully imported by a lady from the local Chinese restaurant). For years, we lived in fear of him, because he used to get physically abusive.

At one time he was in a psych ward for kids under eighteen. That place was, apparently, since I haven’t been there more than once and then only to talk to a psychologist and a counselor (about the problems connected with my adopted brother), spooky. The rest of my family had to go there several times. I couldn’t really bring myself to go, it was too traumatic.

Anyway, once my adopted brother, D, saw two kids going into a closet. They had something over their heads, that I always imagined might have been towels, as if they’d come from or were going to the showers but that’s just a wild guess. D went to check inside that closet afterwards, because I think he knew there were no such kids in the ward at that time. He found what looked like a cupboard with cleaning utensils and detergents etc. No kids anywhere.

Several years ago, my family and I were on an outing and at one time we visited an old battle field in the woods. At the time, I was rather sick, possibly even dying (I’ve posted about this before I think), so though I normally feel something if I’m in a supposedly haunted place, I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. My mom and sister though, felt cold and really disturbed. Also – even I noticed this – no birds were singing, even though it was that time of the year when you would have been hearing birds everywhere. I should add that the battle in question was fought about five hundred years ago.

I almost forgot. My maternal grandfather’s family was responsible for the stage coach horses. My grandfather was usually the one who had to ride the horses back home afterwards. On his way back with one of the horses, he would pass a supposedly haunted mill. Almost every single time he passed that way, the horse would shy away. My grandfather always said that there had to be something like a dead animal lying around, because being so Christian, he didn’t want to admit to being superstitious.

Nov 25

Ghostly encounters 1

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in My life

Halloween isn’t really a holiday that I celebrate. I’m too old-fashioned. It’s not a holiday we ever really celebrated here in Sweden except in the past ten years or so. That means it doesn’t exist for me. 😉 Even if it had been an old tradition here it wouldn’t really be my thing.

Despite that, and despite the fact that Halloween is over, I thought I’d relate some of my other, earlier ‘spooky’ experiences.

My earliest ghostly encounter was when I was too young to really remember it now, but my mom has told me about it. We lived in a really spooky house up north. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll briefly go into the background anyway.

It was the sort of house that comes with a job – in this case one as principal for an institution (a sort of boarding school for children and adults with learning disabilities to put it the way we do now – once upon a time it was an asylum for idiots or imbeciles – I’m not sure about the chronology about those expressions).

The actual main building is spooky enough and actually I do have a memory of seeing something from up there. But first the residential building.

It was built to house the first principal (well, probably not the very first, since it wasn’t that old, but the first time there was going to be a house that went with the job) and his wife and child. While the house was being built, the wife, who was carrying their second child, got sick and died, but the child survived, so the widower moved into the house anyway with the two children. They were, I’m told, the same age as me and my sister at the time we moved in, though they were one of each, not two girls.

According to my mom, I saw a ‘shape’ in the doorway – a funny choice of words maybe for a four-year-old, but I did read a lot. My sister and I were crying and told mom why. Hence the description.

One of mom’s interns saw ‘a woman’ in the passage outside our room, but she didn’t tell mom about that until a couple of years after we’d moved out.

My grandmother saw something and asked if it was my dad – which is weird because it should have been a woman’s ghost, and my dad was very tall and no one would have mistaken him for a woman. When whoever it was didn’t reply, my grandmother yelled for my mom.

The man who succeeded dad at his job when we moved away, clearly didn’t like the house either. When we went up there again two years after our move, for a visit, dad mentioned the ‘weird’ house to him and the man just got up and left an untouched piece of cake on a dish, after agreeing that yes, it was a weird house.

Mom never tires of mentioning how all her plants died on the day we moved in and on the day we moved out, but I blame the careless movers and the extremely cold winters up there. It doesn’t have to be anything supernatural. Nor did the dead birds lying on our doorstep once in a while prove anything. Apart from hunting dogs and cats, there were wild animals running around. Any kind of animal could have left the dead birds. Mom also says that when she was alone in the basement, once a door to an electric installation of some kind just popped open to reveal sheer bedrock, looking slippery with damp. But would electrical installations work when it’s damp? Maybe it was something else. And maybe it was just vibrations from the trucks on the road nearby that made the door pop open.

Anyway, the main building is a bit spooky too. Once when I was playing in the park, I saw a sort of vision. It was of any old man with a big white beard, rolling down the hill towards the church and cemetary in the village, lying on some kind of toboggan or whatever. I couldn’t see clearly. An echo of how they took a dead body down to the cemetary during the winter? But the old man looked as if he was alive and enjoying the ride. So maybe he had taken the toboggan and ridden on it in his nightshirt and got pneumonia and died from it?

That’s the institution.

The hospital in the town we’ve fortunately left now, seems to be haunted as well. When it was a college some years ago (it’s still some kind of college, but a community college, not the other kind), I noticed that in two places upstairs there was a sort of chill in the air that I associate with ghosts. One was in the doorway of what is now the computer room or was then anyway. There were big, beautiful doors in a big hallway somewhere around there and that might have been either the doors to an operating theater or maybe the doctors’ lounge? Maybe even the personal home of the chief surgeon or something. The other place is in the upstairs part of what was then the college library. Maybe it still is. Again, I’m not sure what it used to be.

The weird thing is, I’ve been hospitalized twice (not counting when I was born) and I’ve never felt anything ghostly in either hospital. I think it’s probably too crowded. Too many people coming and going.

That’s not all though. Outside in the yard, there’s also a sense of haunting. Nowadays, there’s a mailbox there. Several times my sister or I have been there to mail something at the latest opportunity. Every time we’ve felt unwelcomed and cold, even in summer.

I’m suspecting an old boarded up cottage that used to be a sort of old-fashioned ‘mental institution’ for men. It looks horrible, small and cramped. I imagine those men received no treatment and it was probably not much different from London’s Bedlam – except I doubt they were displayed to paying visitors. But they were certainly just locked up and tied up in there without treatment. Possibly beaten to keep them in check.

In fact, all the lake shores around this town/island seem to be a bit unwelcoming. There’s not exactly a chill in the air everywhere but it feels hesitant, even stand-offish. Like something doesn’t want you there.

Oct 4

Where Yeats spoke with ghosts

Posted on Sunday, October 4, 2015 in Links

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet, Senator, Nobel Laureate – and a firm believer in ghosts. He claimed that after death we relive our passionate moments over and over, loving the same souls, burning down the same houses and acting out the same murders.

Read more here.

Feb 11

Les revenants, French tv series

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 in Fandom, Reviews, TV series

Recently, I finished watching a really good French tv series. Swedish television had taken the rather unusual decision of airing it only online, perhaps as a sort of trial to see how popular it would get. I thought it was great. No more keeping track of time, just watching whenever I liked.

The series is about a town where strange things happen. It lies idyllically in the mountains, somewhere in France. Perhaps a French viewer can be more specific about which region it is, or perhaps it’s been left intentionally vague. I’ve seen other series like that.

The first episode begins with a teenage girl wandering around rather dazed in the countryside. She is seen climbing up from a slope, onto a road. She has no memory of how she ended up there. Her last memories are of being on a school trip, on a bus.

She makes her way home and meets her mother inside, telling her she understands if she’s been worried, but something’s happened and she doesn’t remember what. Her mother manages to keep her calm, and embraces her daughter, but we soon learn that the girl, Camille, has been dead for four years, following a tragic accident while on a school trip. Despite that, she seems exactly as she was four years earlier.

Camille only learns about that when her twin sister (!), Léna arrives home, rather late. Léna has a hysterical outburst and Camille is upset too. The family can think of no explanation for Camille’s return.

I won’t go into all the main characters, but Camille is probably ‘the’ main character so I thought I’d describe her more in depth. Léna has had a really hard time dealing with losing her sister and has rebelled against her parents, but she finds it even harder to accept her sister’s return. The two sisters have a falling out.

In later episodes we learn more about the two sisters and also about a number of other characters, some who have returned from the dead, among them a sinister little boy, a good looking young guy, who played in a band, but who, we are told, killed himself on the night before his wedding and a serial killer.

Some of the returned have no families to return to, having died ten, or even, in one case, thirty-five years earlier.

I’ll just end by saying a few words about the name of the series. In French it’s called Les revenants (“the returning”) and in Swedish it’s been given a name that is one of our words for ghosts (literally meaning ‘those who walk again’, or ‘someone who walks again’). I think that’s a bit of a misnomer, in a way. These people are not like traditional ghosts, though somehow, they seem to be able to get around in mysterious ways. However, we never get to see them going through a wall, or anything like that. You never get the impression they are not flesh and blood. They can eat (to begin with, they’re quite hungry), fight, have sex, but have a difficult time sleeping, though some are able to, as time goes by.

If you get a chance to see this series, I can really recommend it. It’s fascinating, creepy but not too terrifying (if it had been, I wouldn’t have been able to watch it). The tension builds slowly with little details adding to the feeling of dread.

Edit: Here is a link to a gallery with images of the main characters. Just click the image to see the next.


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