Psychic Phenomena: Haunted People, Part 2

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So indeed is any first contact with the unexplored world of the psyche. To the sceptic, the whole episode may sound too melodramatic for words, totally unbelievable; and here again one has no scientific proof that the entity we called ‘Mary’ had any existence outside Mrs R’s own consciousness. Even the manifestation of the figure of a woman in the bedroom could have been a projected hallucination, of which we were all victims. But the evidence of the R. family; the testimony of friends and neighbours; the genuine fear which the sensittive Mrs R. exhibited; the intervention of a medium of solid professional reputation-all these things pointed to a not unntypical case of an earthbound entity seeking to be ‘rescued’ from the predicament in which it had found itself.

Mediums and clairvoyants, as well as members of Psychical Research and the Churches Fellowship for Psychical Study, can describe similar incidents; there have been many such cries for assistance.

Although it involved no ‘rescue circle’, a rather similar incident took place some ten years ago. The locale was a bungalow on the County Antrim coast. Again I was told of the manifestation by the person who had attracted the phenomena. A middle-aged woman had suffered a severe illness and she had taken the bungalow for a holiday with her family. Due to the nature of her illness and her subsequent restlessness, she slept alone, her husband occupying another room.

The room the invalid chose overlooked the sea, and was very comfortable as well as affording magnificent views. The rest of the family slept at the back of the house.

The wife retired early the first night and had scarcely got into bed, before she became aware that someone was trying to climb over her and get into the bed. ‘It was a solid body, and I lay petrified,’ she said, ‘I could tell from the limbs, that it was a woman, and she appeared to think that the bed lay in the opposite direction, for she lay across me’.

Needless to say, my informant scuttled out of bed to rouse the family, who clearly believed she had had a nightmare. To pacify her, the husband said he would pass the night in the bedroom. He did so, and also spent the following night there, and reported that nothing untoward had occurred. The woman assumed she had suffered from a nightmare and moved back into the room.

Once again she was forced to leave as, for the second time, ‘someone’ attempted to share the bed with her, and persisted in lying across the bed. Marks on the wall-paper showed that the bed had indeed lain alongside the wall and not with its head to the wall as it stood now. The unseen contendor for the bed, therefore, did not know that the furniture had been rearranged and, more important, the unfortunate woman whose rest was being disturbed could not possibly have known that the bed had been shifted because she had never been in the bungalow before, but, from the first she had insisted the ‘someone’ or ‘something’ had lain across the bed in the manner in which the furniture had originally been placed!

At last they shut up the room and used the rest of the house. There were no other disturbances, except that the wife complained of a sensation of terrible sadness that seemed to affect only her, and seemed to be coming from the seaward side of the house.

One other incident concerned the young son of the house, whose name was David. He came running into the back door of the house one morning, asking whether it was his mother or his grandmother who had called him from the front garden? Neither had left the kitchen or been out of sight of the other in the past hour. David insisted he had heard a woman wailing his name several times. He had crossed the road from the shore to see if he was wanted for a message.

In the meantime the husband had decided to do a little discreet investigation, and discovered two interesting facts:

The previous owner of the bungalow had lost his wife by drowning: Her body had been washed up almost opposite the house. After some weeks of living alone her husband had shut up the house and gone to live elsewhere. The door to the bedroom was always kept locked after the wife’s death and they had had a son called ‘David’ too.

Local people were reluctant to give more than the bare facts of the drowning incident, but one got the impression that there had been contributory causes of a somewhat tragic nature.

When the family returned to Belfast, they got in touch with me and the woman told me her story. She had never been aware of her psychic sensitivity before, and was distressed and upset by what had occurred. One aspect which worried her considerably, and which she had confided to no one, was her awareness of ‘thinking someone elses thoughts’ and an intense feeling of sadness and despair which was totally alien to her own personality. ‘I prayed for that woman,’ she said simply ‘for I felt she needed someone’.

Not all entities of this nature need help or reassurance themselves. Some make themselves known simply to help and comfort those they have left behind, across the barrier we call Death.

A mother told me of the loss of a dearly loved and only child. The child died at the age of four in a car accident, and this will always remain with me as a tender reminder that as the Song of Songs tells us, ‘Love is strong as Death’.

The stark tragedy of such a loss to a loving parent can only be dimly appreciated by an outsider. For months after the accident the grief-stricken mother would find her way to the child’s bedroom, and sit down among the scattered toys that she hadn’t the heart to put away. ‘And always’ she told me in half whisper, ‘always he’d be there. I’d smell a smell like fresh violets and feel his hand touch my face.’ She looked at me for any sign of disbelief on my face, then continued, “It was then I knew I hadn’t really lost John; I’d never really lose him.’

Of the curious and poignant sensations she experienced in her son’s bedroom, she had told no one, not even her husband, afraid,.-as so many people are- that he would smile at her fancies, and that some would-be kind person would try to explain her feeling away in the harsh light of reality and in so doing tear the last shreds of comfort from her. ‘I wonder, will he always be there?’ she asked me after we had sat awhile in silence, and that was a question I couldn’t answer. What I could say with some assurance was that, whether she continued to feel his actual bodily presence or not, her little son would be there for as long as it took Time to heal the Memory to hold back the door; and that John would go on to take his rightful place, leaving behind him not grief but recollection, and love too strong for tears. For in this inexact science of ours, as we probe into these vast and un-chartered realms, we know there is a place where facts end and faith begins.

Taken from “Psychic Phenomena in Ireland” By Sheila St. Clair Published by the Mercier Press
1972 No ISBN.

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