Substitious and Supernatural

Grandma Bruce
Why I Don't Believe in Ghosts
By Alison Bruce

If being superstitious is believing in things that aren't true, being substitious is believing in things that are true, but that very few people believe to be true. (Terry Pratchett, JINGO) But verily, Indiana Jones said: "If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall."

Do I believe in the computer I'm typing on? No. I know it exists, as far as I know anything exists. (Yep, I would have taken Dr Tyree's class.) I do not need to believe in something I can see and feel... not to mention write a blog post on.

By the same token, I don't believe in ghosts. I've seen one and felt two others. I might be wrong about what I perceived, but then I might be wrong that my computer actually exists. 

When I was six years old, my grandmother woke me up in the night. I was a little cranky about it and a lot confused. The last thing I heard was that my mother had taken her to the hospital. Yet, there she was, large as life and just as stern as she habitually was. She said goodbye and told me to be good. Since she was always telling me to be good, I paid scant attention and went back to sleep.

A few hours later, around the time I would be getting ready for school, Mum came in to tell me that grandma was dead.

Fast forward almost three decades to when a friend died. He had AIDS and knew his time was limited. Therefore he had everything planned for his funeral, right down to the guest list and canapes. As I sat listening to his many friends talk about him, I felt Alan beside me. He'd put so much effort into his send-off he wasn't going to let death make him miss the big event. I complemented him on the arrangements and he was pleased and showed a bit of false modesty that almost made me laugh.

A couple of years later, I was checked out by my now ex's mother. She hung around the apartment while I was taking care of Ross, who was very ill at the time. She had been a nurse at one time and she made me rather nervous. I started talking to her, reassuring her that everything would be alright. She didn't answer back but eventually she left and I felt like I had just passed a major test.

Okay, that one I'm not entirely sure of. I never met Irene in life so I could have been mistaken about the spirit's identity, but I felt it as surely as I feel the wind chilling my face when I stand on my corner on a winter's day. (No, I'm not a street walker. I'm a crossing guard.)

So, I don't believe in ghosts, but I do believe in the supernatural. I believe that there is more out there than I have experienced. More than can be explained by current natural theory (aka science).

When I was four years old I had my tonsils taken out. I was convinced they were trying to kill me when they were trying to put me under for the operation. During surgery, I looked down at myself. I saw parts of the room that I wasn't aware of seeing when I was brought in, but recognized years later when I worked at the hospital. Sitting on air across from me was a skeleton in a trench coat and fedora.

"Am I dead?" I asked.

He shook his head. Shortly afterward, he and everything else faded. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery and projectile vomiting on the nurse.

It could have been a Ketamine hallucination. I prefer to believe that something supernatural made an appearance to tell me what I needed to know.

(Not dead yet.)


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