When it happens to you, you’ll know it

When it happens to you, you’ll know it
March 27, 2010
Jim Goldsworthy
Cumberland Times-News

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Jim Goldsworthy

March 27, 2010
When it happens to you, you’ll know it

Jim Goldsworthy, Columnist Cumberland Times-News

— A lady I know sees and hears things in her house that, by all common wisdom, she shouldn’t be seeing and hearing.

She told me her daughter once asked her, “Mom, did you just walk past the window?”

When she said she hadn’t, her daughter replied, “Well, someone did.”

Why do rational, intelligent, educated people believe in what we call the paranormal? It’s because we are rational, intelligent, educated people that we admit there are some things we can’t explain under any known principles of science — or, for that matter, religion.

When folks ask me if I believe in ghosts, I say that I believe in the phenomenon. I don’t know exactly what causes it, and there may be more than one explanation.

Some of it may be residual energy, and some of it seems to display evidence of intelligent thought ... maybe even a sense of humor. Some of it has physically slapped me hard enough to leave a welt, and some of it has physically kept me from falling on my face.

Some of it is good, and some of it is anything but. I’ve had experiences with both, and while one can give you a feeling of warmth, the other gives you the galloping willies.

What does it take to make someone a believer? Here’s an example of how the process works, except that it involves a phenomenon that can be explained rationally and with known science:

The Sage and I went to Paw Paw to help two friends fix up the house they’d just bought.

We volunteered to help the lady’s father replace an ancient fuse box with a breaker box. The fellow pointed to an unhooked wire and asked The Sage to grab hold of the loose end, which he did.

The Sage’s reaction to what happened next was downright spectacular.

“Why in the hell did you tell me to do that?” he fumed.

“I wanted to see if it was live,” the lady’s father said. He said he was a retired electrician and had gotten to the place where, rather than breaking out a volt meter, he just grabbed wires to see if there was juice running through them.

Something like that makes you a believer. That’s when you start paying attention to things you might otherwise have dismissed.

I wouldn’t say my house is haunted, but it may be that I sometimes have visitors. They leave physical evidence, including — believe it or not — occasional repair work.

My house produces a variety of groans, cracks and thumps that I usually ignore because it is more than a century old, and old houses are like old people: They make strange noises now and then.

When I’m in the kitchen, I frequently hear creakings from the stairwell that goes to the upstairs — although, there’s never a sound from the stairs right beside it that go to the basement.

The other night, there came a crash of such intensity from the second-floor apartment that I said, “Oh, (boy)!” and hustled upstairs to see had caused it. I checked every room, but everything was in order.

What often seems to be paranormal activity may not be.

People talk about photographing “ghost orbs,” but the reflection from the dusk-to-dawn light at the church on one side of my house produces a perfect ghost orb in my eyeglasses. It even contains a pattern that resembles a face.

And sometime back, during my nocturnal trips down the hallway, I began noticing an occasional phenomenon that stopped me in my tracks when it first happened. As I entered into my bedroom, there would be a sudden flash of dim light that seemed to zip toward the bedroom window and disappear.

Eventually, I figured out that the apparition was nothing more than the after-image of the reflection from a dusk-to-dawn light at the old hospital on the other side of my house. Now, I can almost make it happen at will.

However, I haven’t been able to explain a white mist that greeted me at one end of the hall, then evaporated.

Earlier that night, I had watched a TV show that explained how scientists can tell use measurements from a GPS system to show that the Alps are still growing higher.

My grandfather, who died in 1959, loved high-tech things. I looked at his photo and said, “Whaddya think about that, Granddad?” and got the unmistakable feeling that he was there and answering me. It lasted for a few minutes.

When the newspaper got its first-ever computer-generated printing system, I was sitting at my first-ever terminal when, for reasons I don’t understand, I looked over my left shoulder, asked the same question and got the same response.

Like grabbing the business end of a live wire, it has happened to me often enough times that I recognize it immediately.

Also, someone leaves pennies beside my bed for me to find in the morning. 

It doesn’t happen often, and it’s not a matter of them falling out of my pants pocket while I’m getting undressed for the night. The pennies weren’t there when I turned off the lights, and it rarely happens now that I’m no longer surprised by it.

Considering the other places this has happened, and the circumstances, I have reason to believe it’s Frank Calemine who does this. His niece, Nancy, says he also leaves them for her.

One morning I awoke, swung my legs over the bed and found a penny right between my feet — the same place they always are.

I smiled, said, “Thanks, Frank,” then picked it up, put in the jar where I put all of the pennies I find and went to the bathroom to take my shower.

When I came back, there on the floor beside my bed in the same place where I had just picked up a penny, was a dime.
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