Ghost stories

Friday May 1, 2020

Some background to this conversation.

Rita Warren and I became close beginning in April 2000 when her husband Martin died. Our relationship deepened as she and I did several months of weekly sessions in which she questioned The Guys Upstairs through me. It continued after I moved in as a renter in 2003, a sort of a mother-son relationship, with the trust that implies. I think that trust is why she dared ask me, carefully, a few weeks or months before she died, if I ever saw things. Turned out she had begun having visions at night, and didn’t know what they were or what they meant.

Rita had had Jungian analysis, decades earlier, and she had spent years monitoring people’s altered-state sessions in the Monroe Institute’s black box, besides having gone through most of Monroe’s residential programs, perhaps all of them. So she wasn’t a stranger to the inexplicable. But this time, I think she was worried that if she admitted to seeing things, people would think she was losing it. Nevertheless, she told me. We wondered if I would be able to see them too. I told her that if she ever wanted to find out, call me, no matter what time it was, and we’d see.

So one night the phone rang at 2 a.m. and it was Rita. So I went downstairs in my pjs and robe to her part of the house, and she gestured to the upper walls, near the ceiling, and asked if I could see them. I couldn’t, but my presence didn’t chase them away. She continued to see them, dancing around in a big circle along the walls of her bedroom, clowns and other fantastical images.

We had talked about what they might be. I had said that in my opinion her sensory range was shifting for some reason, and she was now becoming aware of things that had previously been beyond the range of her senses, but of course I didn’t know. I was a bit perplexed that they were cartoonish rather than realistic.

We never did figure out what the appearances meant. Rita died in March, 2008, age 88.


6 a.m. Rita, it never occurred to me to ask until now, re-reading The Cold Dish [by Craig Johnson]: What was the story with the figures you were seeing in the middle of the night in your final days?

You may credit the book or you may credit your receptivity combined with a slight nudge.

Yes, I get that. As I was reading, I thought: He’s saying something true here, it isn’t just an editorial insertion, regardless what he may have thought he was doing. I mean, clearly he was making up the story. Still, he was saying things that are true, and perhaps was being used as spokesman for things needing to be said. So –

If you send this out you will need to expand the explanation considerably, or people won’t understand.

I see that.

[In the story, Longmire is struggling in a blizzard and is helped by ghostly apparitions.]

The non-3D and 3D entirely interpenetrate, you know that much by now.

I do.

So ghost stories and such like are truer than they appear to be, even if they aren’t as factual as they might be.

You mean, I think that they express a true relationship of 3D and non-3D worlds – the continuing interaction.

Yes. But just as you needed to make up a story about Angelo Chiari’s Gateway in order to tell true things that had happened to you, so the tellers of ghost stories often invent narrative to illustrate truths.

Only they so often sentimentalize, which destroys their credibility.

It does for you and for your type of mind. But others may require just that level of romanticizing because they have to believe in it as a pleasant fiction in order to consider it at all.

That’s an interesting turn-around. I was thinking they are too ungrounded, and you are saying they are too materialistic.

Yes. Explain that later, if you put this out.

[They pretty up the subject because they don’t really believe in it. Those who experience spirits know that they are as much a part of ordinary life as is anything else, only sensitivity to their presence varies among individuals.]

So the answer to my question –

Remember how I characterized it. You wrote it down somewhere. They were happy, dancing images. They were like clowns. They were projected for the purpose of inciting my curiosity and reducing any fear of the unknown that I might have had.

That seems so obvious, but I never thought of it.

Well, I didn’t either, you may remember. I even called you downstairs to see if you could see them too.

Which I couldn’t. I am glad I papered it over with an explanation. And if you hadn’t trusted me, you wouldn’t have admitted having the hallucinations, or visions, or however we should think of them.

And your common-sense papering-over, as you are calling it, did nothing to reduce that trust.

We made a good team. Maybe the main reason I moved to the New Land was to be part of the Rita and Frank team for those few years.

Moral of story: Life always has more surprises in store for those who are open to them.

Thanks, Rita.


One thought on “Ghost stories

  1. An interesting post to me because, fwiw, I and others in my family have seen spirits for as long as I can remember, though generally none of us mention it outside the family. With Rita’s story, two things come to mind. One is that there is a growing body of research on visions that occur prior to death (usually near the ceiling, often the right-hand corner, usually dead relatives, sometimes in the scenario of a train trip, etc.), so Rita’s experience seems to fit right in. It seems to me its a guidance you wouldn’t want to miss.

    The second thing is that many of the things I see are focused on reincarnational experiences of mine (as opposed, for example, to my mother, who saw dead relatives), and I learn things about life themes we share and also how they might need to process their deaths. There is so much love involved (that probably sounds sentimental!) although some of their experiences can be pretty tough to witness.

    I’m mentioning these experiences here because in a way I’m still amazed by it all, and also because I’m a bit of a crusader. I’d love to see these kinds of experiences normalized rather than made fun of or trivialized. I believe they hold purpose and information, and “they express a true relationship of 3D and non-3D worlds.”

    If anyone has any related experience, could you share it?

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