I Saw Him

I was at the kitchen window, drinking some water when I saw a man walking from the far back tree that curves over towards the big brush pile. He was thin and wearing a white and red checked shirt.

And I was like, “Who is that?” and I saw the neighbor’s dachshund traling behind him, but he was too thin to be my neighbor, by far. And then I thought, “Cool, I hope we can establish a neighborhood tradition of walking through each other’s back yards, because I really rather walk Mrs. Wigglebottom out to Lloyd through back yards than down the Pike.”

But he never came out on the other side of the brush pile.

I’m going to admit that, when the girls first told me about seeing him, though they each told me separately, I thought they had concocted a good ghost story for me as a somewhat fitting housewarming gift.

But I saw what I saw.

19 thoughts on “I Saw Him

  1. I’m as skeptical as the next person, maybe more than some. Still, when I heard my that my dead grandfather stood around in the kitchen of his old house everytime the new owners worked on the house it I had a hard time accounting for it. Seems there is more going on than we can account for. Dogs don’t seem to be surprised by ghosts, though.

    Theoretical physics has an answer for this, but it’s awfully hard to wrap my mind around it.

  2. Have you checked for a hidden or well-concealed cellar door under the brush pile? I mean, it *is* Tennessee… I’m sure there are some hidden stills and hooch storage rooms about.

  3. I didn’t notice. Just saw the red and white shirt and the build and the dog following and waited for him to come back into view so I could get a good look at him and see who it was. But he did register as older to me (in other words, I thought at first he was my neighbor Bobby, even though Bobby is not slender, by far and not my slender neighbor to the south, even though he has the right build, because Jason’s too young.).

  4. Can you leave a little note out by the brush pile? “Dear sir, come on up to the house and say hello next time you see us out in the yard! We want to meet our neighbors!”

    Then again, that could draw the wrong element. (The living kind.) Gah.

    Is there a code for “kind woman lives here” amongst the ghostly element? Like the smiling-cat code the hoboes used to use?

    Hey, you could put up the TCP logo.

  5. I need the ghostly hobo sign that says “While you’re out there, could you weed the peppers and the carrots?”

    And, frankly, I appreciate him staying out in the yard. I would freak the fuck out of he came in the house.

  6. ellen,
    What’s the explanation from theoretical physics? This kept me up last night, in the good way.

  7. If you can see something, it’s emitting photons. If you can hear it, it’s pushing air around. If you can feel it, it’s pressing the atoms on you. Those things mean that it (whatever you’re experiencing) carries an electromagnetic charge. In standard physics, it’s this characteristic that would prevent something evaporating through a wall and such like. If it’s perceptible to your senses, physics would say that it has charge and therefore can’t behave like we believe ghosts to do.

    I’ve heard more whimsical explanations, including that ghosts are “dark matter” (sticks the universe together) or “dark energy” (pulls universe apart). String theory people sometimes speculate that ghosts could be the manifestation of intersecting or sticky time layers that briefly coalign) and some Dr. Who fans go on about spirits stuck in time loops. However, I’ve never heard anything that really struck me as well thought-out. I’m sure others know more and can explain it better.

  8. I believe in ghosts and angels, and have seen angels but never a ghost. I wonder what that means.

    (And no, my angels have looked nothing like those tacky gift-store things.)

  9. I think the ghosts have better sense than to cross you, Mrs. C. Which may also explain why B only sees them at a distance. You’re kind women, but you don’t take no guff.

    I have seen, heard and felt ghosts. I have witnessed acts that could only have been the work of angels. The latter comforts me; the former saddens me, because I believe they deserve their rest/reward rather than having to still traipse around on this plane. Unless, of course, that *is* their reward.

    And I have laughed at Beth’s comment until I cannot see. Laughed sympathetically, of course. (*slaps mosquitoes*)

  10. I’m not sure, either, in his case if he’s really a ghost–like that is him and he’s aware and can see and interact with us–or if when the conditions are right, the memory of him just plays out like a recording.

    Of course, the Butcher is convinced that it’s just some neighbor who cut back into the garden and out of my line of site.

  11. So string theory is what I thought of first, when physics was brought into the conversation. And inasmuch that people describe things they see, hear, or feel as ghosts, they are describing something that interacts with light and matter. Although I can see where string theory, specifically the “touching” or intersection of spacetime fabric would allow for matter or light energy to appear anachronistically, it doesn’t explain condensed matter that defies classical mechanics, or basically, what bridgett said.

    I keep returning to the definitions of the experiences people classify as seeing/feeling/hearing ghosts. Humans can’t discount the influence of our own chemistry and history when we interpret the things we experience. And, we can’t assume that all things we see/hear/feel are what they present as. Perhaps multiple physical phenomena occur and all are being grouped together and named ghosts.

  12. Grandfille, I kid b/c I love.

    Regarding ghosts, I’ll share this – and if it’s a repeat, forgive.
    My Daddy died 7 years ago today – about this very moment. Daddy whistled all the time whether he was walking around the house. One night, a few months after his death, my Mom and I were sitting in the living room at her house. We were the only ones there. Faintly, we heard whistling. We both looked at each other with the eyes of “do you think?”

    In the days after his death, my Mom and I were sitting on her front porch. Daddy had a strange fascination with owls — appreciating their beauty, etc. As we sat there, in the moonlight, an owl flew in and lit on the electric line. It sat there and just cocked it’s head and stared at us.
    We both gave each other the look.

    A few months back, I was home. I went out on the front porch to smoke. While sitting there, I glanced over at the right side of the walkway that leads from the steps of the front porch to the sidewalk. Something was sitting on the grass. At first, I thought it was a cat, b/c I could basically see it’s silhouette. Then I realized “it’s the owl! Sitting in the grass.” I eased from my chair, and opened the front door, telling my Mom to come out, but slowly and quietly.” She saw it too.

    So, do I believe spirits visit us after our loved ones die? You’re damn right I do.

  13. I think y’all might enjoy “Spook” by Mary Roach. She’s sometimes a little flippant, but does a good job of interviewing a range of people who are involved in researching spirit phenomena, including a guy who investigates reincarnations in China, and people researching out of body experiences in hospitals.

  14. That’s creepy. I think I would have locked the doors and called the police if some dude was walking around in my backyard.

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