Is it just me, or is the "veil between worlds" especially thin right now? An open thread on "visitations" from those who've passed on, and the anxiety that creeps in as we get closer to death...
If you read my book, you know that I’m terrified of death and somewhat obsessed with it. I suppose that, at least in part, it’s a natural reaction to getting older (aka, closer to death) and as a result of that, witnessing more people around me dying.
The Buddhists say you should think about your death every day, and, ✅ I am on it. That said, they probably don’t mean for you to worry about it constantly, so I’m fairly certain I’m doing it wrong.
I any case, I’ve been thinking about death even more lately because I’ve been experiencing what I would call “visitations” from the beyond, and I’m not the only one. Brian has also had at least one profound experience lately, along with me (more on that below), and Oldster contributorrecently wrote about an otherwise inexplicable sign from someone who passed away some time ago. Last week another friend talked about new evidence of a ghost in her house, as if it were a hard fact.
I really don’t know what I believe regarding what happens to our spirits, our energy, or whatever you want to call it, after our bodies call it quits. What’s your take on it? And have you ever been “visited”?
I consider myself to be equal parts seeker and skeptic. More than anything I align with the idea from quantum physics that energy can’t be destroyed, and so therefore some part of us hangs around in the ether. And also that there might be parts of our brains that are more developed in some of us than others, which can send and receive information without explicitly communicating it verbally or in writing, or otherwise. Which is to say that I don’t think it’s “magic,” but something scientific that we don’t yet fully understand.
I’ve been thinking about death even more lately because I’ve been experiencing what I would call “visitations” from the beyond, and I’m not the only one.
I think that part of my brain is fairly developed, which is why I have had more than my share of psychic experiences and “visitations” from the dead. It’s like I have an antenna out, especially when I’m sleeping or napping. Once, after learning a friend’s husband died at 3:33pm, the next morning at 3:33 a.m. sharp, I was woken by his voice, saying, “Take care of ________!” (← her name). A couple of years ago, I was awoken by the voice of a bully of a boss from 20 or more years ago apologizing to me, and later learned he’d just died.
Just this week, I was woken by the voice of someone I worked with on a book 26 years ago, a message regarding getting through these hard times in the world. “Pain is the teacher!” he said. “Learn from it. Don’t push it away!” It was an idea he lived by and expressed often when he was alive. His appearance in my dream felt so vivid and real—just like the other “visitations” I’ve experienced—that I had to get up and walk around my house to make sure my waking reality was still the same one I knew.
Weeks before that, I published my post about my late sister-in-law, Jean Marie Macaluso right after she visited me in a dream days before her two-year death anniversary. In the dream, she was banging on a door, screaming, “Let me in! Will you let me in?!” Even more eerily, on the day of that anniversary, a couple of hours after my post about her went, er, live, Brian and I did an errand for a friend while visiting Philly, and there we encountered what we both considered a “sign” from Jean.
I consider myself to be equal parts seeker and skeptic. More than anything I align with the idea from quantum physics that energy can’t be destroyed, and so therefore some part of us hangs around in the ether.
We had debated whether we had time to do the errand for our friend, artist and writer Jacinta Bunnell—pick up a proof of “Latchkey Township,” her new book about latchkey kids, from Fireball Printing, a small print shop on the other side of town. We decided to go for it, and called a Lyft. When we got to the print shop, we were greeted by a display of 3D-printed tardigrades—what Jean called her spirit animal. Before knowing Jean, I’d never heard of a tardigrade, a microscopic organism so weird it’s hard to believe they’re real, but they are.
Also known as “water bears” and “moss piglets,” tardigrades are known for being incredibly hardy and resilient. Weird, hardy, resilient—sounds like Jean. Brian was so moved, he bought a green one and brought it with us sight-seeing, as if he were taking his sister along. On instagram, he took pictures of “Jean” where ever we went.
“Jean” with the Liberty Bell:
Sharing his Philly cheesesteak (Cheez Whiz style, fwiw) with “Jean”:
The week after we returned home, some other strange things happened—weird sounds in the house that didn’t seem to have a source; a vase filled with dried lavender falling over out of nowhere, with no evident cause. (Jean had given me a bottle of lavender oil after I burned my hand on a pan one Thanksgiving; just a month ago I finished and replaced it.)
I think there might be parts of our brains that are more developed in some of us than others, which can send and receive information without explicitly communicating it verbally or in writing, or otherwise. Which is to say that I don’t think it’s “magic,” but something scientific that we don’t yet fully understand.
I’m sure some of you think I’m nuts, but I have the feeling that right now, at least around me, the “veil” between the worlds is particularly thin, and communication is taking place.
Now I want to know about your experiences with “ghosts,” and what you believe about where our spirits or energy, or whatever, goes after we die. Tell me in the comments…
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Wow. This subject hit me hard. My daughter Amy died suddenly on Christmas Day and the day after Christmas I was awakened with a cry that clearly said “mom”. This exact same experience has happened 3 times in the past to me with the voice saying “Jan”- my name. I could never recognize the voice but it was so clear and real. I’ve been considering talking to a psychic and now I’m really thinking of it!
I'm pretty woo woo as far as Catholics go. We're big on memento mori, thinking about death all the time. Also, it probably doesn't help that I sing at funerals (always too many funerals, never enough weddings), so I sometimes feel like a siren (only not sexy). I'm with you in that I believe energy doesn't die. I do think my mom's spirit is still around--or maybe a piece of it. Once, when my twin boys (whom my mom never met) were pre-school age, my kid took on one of her mannerisms. And I just had a flooding sense at that dinner table that she was there, in my kid, for a second. Maybe I was kidding myself, missing her, but it didn't feel like it.