Halloween means different things to different people. Thanks to American influence it’s evolved into the trick or treat fest that we are familiar with today. We dress our children up as evil goblins, (not that some need much help), send them out into the cold night and, a couple of hours later, they stagger back in with buckets of booty guaranteed to keep them in a hyperactive state for the next few days.
In my day Halloween was about making a Jack-o-lantern and dressing up as a ghost using one of Ma’s old bedsheets. Simple times… a cheap do! I certainly don’t recall houses being festooned with Halloween paraphernalia…
Did you know that In Somerset they practice a custom on the last Thursday of October where children walk about with their Jack-o-Lanterns? It’s known as Punkie night. This is a new one on me – I thought punkie night was a Sid Vicious tribute act down the local pub!
Aside from treats, tricks, horror flicks – there is the spiritual side to the day what is known as ‘Halloween’.
Halloween, (Samhain), is known as the time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. A time when we remember the souls who have passed on and, if one wishes, one can set an extra place at the table in case Great Aunt Maud drops in…. Great Aunt Maud who died in 1972 that is!
Most of us who have lost a loved one would jump at the chance to see them again though, I’ll be honest, if I looked up from eating my Spagbog to see Ma sat in the spare chair, helping herself to the Parmesan…I would most likely shit myself!
The most powerful paranormal experiences are the spontaneous ones that wake you up in the early hours and leave you in no doubt that there is some kind of existence after death. I’d like to share with you an unforgettable experience of mine.
My paternal grandmother died when I was 5 years old. Her name was Gladys. I like that name – Gladys. I can’t remember what I called her. I have vague memories of her house, especially the kitchen. I’ve been told that she was very fond of me…well of course! There’s a photograph of me wearing her shoes on the beach while she looks on, smiling. This picture, (and the one below), show me what my infant mind fails to remember.
I don’t have any recollection of her death at all. She was simply there one day and gone the next. I didn’t have any understanding of death and loss at that age.
I was given her jewellery box. It was all costume jewellery but to a five year old girl it was a box of treasure. The smell of her perfume permeated into the brooches and beads. I wish that they’d kept it for me until I was older because one by one the pieces got lost or broken. All I have left is one brooch and the box itself- which my Dad made.
I have no idea why my Grandmother would choose to visit me one December morning, six years after her death but I’m convinced that she did.
I remember being woken up by a noise in the early hours of the morning…it took my fuddled brain a few seconds to realise what it was.
I had a small Bontempi keyboard – it was battery operated and used to make a whirring noise when it was switched on and it was definitely on. Though the button was in the off position. I figured it might have been the batteries playing up so I removed them.
By then I was wide awake.
In the corner of my room was a large rocking chair that had been my Grandma’s. I was just about to get back into bed when I noticed that it was rocking back and forth.
It was December. There was no heating on, (not with thrifty Ma – I should coco!), and no windows open and the chair was moving. It wasn’t a flimsy chair, it was old fashioned, built to last rocking chair and it was rocking- by itself.
The strangest thing was that I wasn’t scared.
I should have been…
But I wasn’t.
I became aware of a smell. It was familiar and It took me a few seconds to realise that it was my Grandmother’s perfume. It was strong. The scent filled the room, as potent as if I had just sprayed it myself.
These things in themselves might have been enough to convince me of something special happening but then something happened that I will struggle to describe but I’ll have a bash.
I became filled with a feeling of such intensity that, if I trawled the entire dictionary, I’d never be able to find words to justify it. It’s like the best feeling that you’ve had in your life, ever, and magnifying it a hundred times over. It filled my entire being… I couldn’t see her, hear or touch her, but I could feel what I believe to be love in it’s purest form.
And I was smiling. I remember feeling my face aching and I realised it was because I was smiling. It was an amazing experience. I know what love feels like but this feeling was totally incomparable to anything I’ve experienced before or since.
I told Ma about the experience later that day and it turned out that it was the anniversary of my grandmother’s death.
I don’t know why she visited me that morning. There was no message. There were no words. Maybe she came because she never got to say goodbye.
I’ve had a lot of explanations from various sceptics over the years about this experience. In their opinion, I must have been dreaming, hallucinating or having a psychotic episode!
All of these explanations are possibilities. However, if you’ve an open mind, then you will also accept the paranormal possibility as well. What I do know is that I feel fortunate to have had this experience. It’s had a lasting effect on me and convinced me that consciousness doesn’t end with our death.
Maybe you have had a similar experience or one that’s put the heebeegeebees up you? Or maybe you think it’s all a load of codswollop…
Whatever you’re doing this Halloween, whether it’s Trick or Treating with the kids, (WEARING A COSTUME OF YOUR OWN, AHEM!), or you’re disengaging the door bell, cracking open a bottle of wine and counting how many times Yvette Fielding swears on Most Haunted…have fun!
One last thing…
You might want to leave a little something on the table for absent family members because, well, you never know…
*disappears in a cloud of smoke*