I guess before you hear me ramble about this or that or want to take my word for anything that comes out of my mouth, you need to know who I am, where I come from, and where I have been. At the end of this you may find me interesting enough to hang around and hear what I have to say from time to time or you may think I am full of hogwash and want to wash your hands of me, either way I will not be offended and will not fault you for the latter.
The start of my story is a humble one that begins in the hills of the Appalachians and like many families from those hills, the clan I hail from settled roughly in spot almost a couple centuries ago and has not moved a whole heckuva lot since. Needless to say, the land and traditions here run thick through my veins. One half of my make-up valued Academics and Higher Learning but not forgetting where one comes from while keeping one foot firmly grounded in History and tradition, as the other half valued a simple life of hard work, honest values, and taking care of the land and those in the community. Not to brag about my heritage but I do consider myself very lucky to have, what I consider, a blessed upbringing as it made me into the man I am today…
Growing up, I spent a large bulk of my time at either one of my grandparents’ houses as they took care of me while my parents worked and took in all that I could from both sides. But I will say it was my grandmother Grace (the one my mother’s side), who fed into my insatiable appetite for reading, self-education, and the ideas that I could be my own person regardless of anyone’s opinion. Even though she was a firm believer in Academics and an unintentional (and sometimes accidental) pioneer in Women’s Lib, she still stuck to many regional traditions and one such was that of funerals being one of the rare occasions where everyone in the community hung up what they were doing and took part.
It didn’t matter if it was family, best friend, or that guy you met once and shared shade with during previous funeral…you went. This meant that I spent A LOT of time at churches, funeral homes, cemeteries, and wakes at people’s homes. It got to the point that when I got dropped off at Grandma’s going to a funeral was a not a surprise, just whose we were going to that was the unexpected factor. So after a while, death did not freak me out it anymore as it was just another part of life.
Now you get a better understanding of the funerals I went to. These were not events you went to just mourn the loss of someone or be there for the family but you came to celebrate a life lived and remember someone whose personal identity helped make up the larger part of the whole community identity. People came from all around to break bread and swap stories about adventures past…even if you were a guest and never met the passed, you still walked away from the experience feeling like you had known them for years.
This kind of experience taught me the value of a life lived and to not be afraid of death but rather when it comes, welcome and embrace it as one would do a long lost friend. This is not to be taken morbidly or morosely, but with the understanding that all we can ask for after a good life lived is a Good Death. Spelling it capitalized, a Good Death, is a thing unto itself meaning a quick and clean passing with minimal suffering. This, I believe, aids in transitioning from one life to the next and allows for clean closure for not only the departed but for those left behind…
Which starts to lead us into the ‘meat and taters’ of why you are probably here…the idea of ghosts and what they are, where they come from, and what causes them to hang about is probably one of oldest questions around and I doubt we will ever really know until it is our time to make that journey ourselves to the other side of the veil. As mentioned a line or two above, one to the leading thoughts is that they are souls lost left to roam due to some jolt to their system caused by tragedy or sudden and sometimes gruesome death. This, in my opinion, is only a small fraction of the whole as there seems to be enough evidence through accounts of people past and present to say that ghosts can also be made up of those with unfinished business, those who like to come back in visitation, ones who are back to console those who were left behind, and some who are not ‘ghosts’ per say but other spirits or invisible entities that like to pretend they are ghosts to play on human’s gullibility and emotion. These reasons listed are just a drop in the bucket that contains all the theories and speculations of what a ghost is once you start looking deeper and peeling away at the layers of the phenomenon.
Once you have fully drunk of the paranormal Kool-Aid and become fully immersed in the wild, wonderful, world of the weird and fantastic fringes of known reality, it becomes very easy to tip over into other branches of Fortean studies. It’s not a big leap and if you don’t’ believe me, follow these trains of thought:
· If you believe that Consciousness or Spirit can separate from its biological robotic shell and act independently as an invisible entity on this plane of existence or even move to and fro between ‘planes’ or dimensions, then why could not other lifeforms from other planes or even planets do the same.
· If for a couple of hundreds of years, peoples from all over the world but for the exception to many African tribes, swore Gorillas were a thing of myth and rumor until 1847 when specimen pieces were brought back for study and proof they existed. Even at that, Mountain Gorillas were still written off until 1902 when evidence of their existence was given. So, how can you say it’s not at least plausible that there are other creatures living on the outskirts of society that currently exist only in rumor as the Gorilla did for centuries.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg exposing the possibility of just a couple of the more popular topics that we may touch on with a great deal of reality’s other hidden insanities just waiting to be tapped the next time we cross paths.
So as we come full circle this may be when you ask what in blue blazes qualifies me enough to share what I have learned, things I am still learning, and my opinion on it all. Well honestly, none of it qualifies me for jack…I am just a man with a few tales to tell, a handful ideas to exchange, some arm-chair studies share, and maybe occasionally some poor man’s wisdom to pass along. So come do what folks do where I come from and grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair on your front porch or by the fireplace, get comfy, and let’s talk about things great and small, lives yet to live and adventures yet to be had…
-- Dave H