To kick off this series I decided to sit down with my friend and fellow vintage shop colleague, Annie, on one of our many chill days together, talk about weird stuff, some stories that she had thought of and ask her some questions about them.
(All the following stories are slightly paraphrased from a recorded conversation and other conversations we have had.)
UFO ON BONFIRE NIGHT.
So it was bonfire night, about 6pm? So it was dark and we were driving along this road to go to a fireworks display and we were coming up to a bridge over the road with grassy banks going up to it, with a trainline on it and just before we went under these huge lights like lit up us and the bridge in front of us and I remember it lighting up loads. I remember my dad saying ‘fucking hell what was that’ and us all thinking it was a plane, like my sister thought it was a plane. We thought it was a plane crashing or something. And the light was like moving in the direction it was going, like diagonally towards us across the tracks. We went under the bridge and when we came out on the other side it was gone. I don’t remember seeing a train, nothing (at this point I made some joke about Steven Spielberg writing her memory).
GEMMA AND HER SISTER.
Gemma (Annie’s friend from Uni) lived in an old art gallery with two other housemates. One evening Gemma was going up to bed and walked past the bathroom, she thought she saw her younger sister, Claire in the bathroom without the lights on, pulling funny faces at herself in the bathroom mirror. She told her housemates about it just being like ‘really weird I thought I saw my sister last night’ and they both said they also thought they had seen Claire at random times. Claire and Gemma look completely different, almost oppisites. She then went and told her parents who also told her they thought they had seen her sister Claire around the house. Gemma’s mum thought she saw Claire hiding behind the Christmas tree (that was the time of year), she got up to look behind the tree and no one was there. Her dad also had trouble sleeping one night so went downstairs and thought he saw claire sat at the kitchen table without the light on, he asked her if she wanted a cup of tea and looked back, she was gone. Gemma also said Claire definitely wasn’t there (possibly in the house or in that area of the house) when these things were happning.
SOMEONE BEHIND YOU ON THE STAIRS.
We were moving in all my stuff to my bedroom upstairs in my second year house. I was coming up the stairs and I thought *starts drawing diagram* – the house had three floors, the ground floor had a livingroom at the front then another bedroom, then the kitchen, you go up to stairs there’s a few stairs, landing more bedrooms, stairs up to the 2nd floor, I was going up the stairs and I thought I saw someone coming up behind me and as I went up the stairs before the ones that went up to mine and Charlie’s bedrooms I expected to see them coming up behind me, down from me. Because the stairs had a bannister going all the way up so you could see down, from each level to the bottom. But I turned round and there was no one there, and then when I got up to my room all five of the people helping me were in my room. There was no one there.
1. Do you believe in the supernatural/paranormal – ghosts, spirits etc.?
Annie – I don’t know, Yes but there’s no specifics in what I believe in.
Me – But you’re open to it.
Annie – There’s nothing I’m certain like ‘yes I believe in this’
Me – But if something happened…
Annie – I would think maybe, like I get spooked easily, when I’m on my own, especially my last house, that house was so fucking creepy.
2. Why to yes/no
Me – Do you think its because you haven’t been given proof?
Annie – I think it’s because I don’t want to. Like, you want to be logical, like you want to have a definite, this is why this happened or this is why you thought you saw that, to think if there being something else is quite scary, so to not quite believe in it makes it less scary.
3. How would you explain what happened to you?
Annie – Gemma’s story is a weird one, I can’t explain that, the UFO thing is easy: train.
Me – What would you say could be the reason or any of the thoughts on what happened with Gemma and her sister?
Annie – Oh god I don’t know, it’s really creepy, so weird, creepy.
Me – So you don’t feel like you have any definitive explanation for what happened in those stories?
Annie – No, I mean there probably is but I dunno, for the UFO thing definitely a train –
Me – even though you don’t remember a train?
Annie – Yeah but like you’ve said memories can change.
Me – Yeah like memory is fluid, it starts off one way, maybe not fluid, more like playdough, like it can be moulded.
4. What do you think all of this means, that these things happen and everyone has a story or has been told a story?
Annie – I feel spooked, it’s spooky, you don’t want to believe that these things happen.
Me – Like you don’t think you could comfortably sit with these things happening and be accepting of it?
Annie – I think it’s because I haven’t ever looked into that kind of thing so I’m not familiar with it. Yeah, like maybe if I had I’d be more accepting of it.
There are two main things here that really interest me with these stories. The first is from the UFO story that Annie shared. What amazes me with this story isn’t necessarily whether she did or didn’t actually see a UFO (who knows, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE) but more that Annie is consciously aware that what she remembers or how she remembers it probably isn’t accurate. This idea of the ‘playdough memory’ that I mentioned is fascinating but kind of terrifying. Our childhood memories are so fragile, I imagine them as old books; not careful enough and a page or two might fall out of a few memories and the wrong page ends up in the wrong book. Before you know it something that you haven’t even thought about ends up influencing and shaping a memory that initially started off as quite different. It’s a bracing thought, that who we are – what we have experienced, what we know, remember – is so easily changed.
The second is on the topic of Annie’s friend, Gemma and her and (5?) other peoples experience with seeing Claire, Gemma’s sister, who wasn’t in the house where they had seen her at that time. Immediately when we talked about this, something came to mind: astral projection and bi location. I recently started reading up on these things again thanks to ‘The Black Tapes Podcast’. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, atral projection is the ability (usually through sleep or meditation, entering a trance etc.) to project your astral body (your soul, consciousness, self, whatever you want to call it) to other places, just like a projector creates an image on a white screen, your physical body isn’t there but your astral body is. Within this theory there is the possibility of involuntary astral projections, where you don’t realise it’s happening or you’re not making it happen. In fact the man, Robert Monroe that lead us to understand much of altered consciousness, Out of Body Experiences or OOBE’s, astral projection and much more, experienced involuntary astral projections. This seems to make a lot of sense in regards to Annie’s story about her friend, Gemma and her sister. I don’t know whether I could out right say that is what happened, but when more than two people thought they saw a person who definitely was not there, what else could it be? Wishful thinking? Trick if the light? Catching your own reflection and momentarily seeing something else? But then why did all these people see the same person? Theory of involuntary astral projection or even possibly of unconscious bilocation seems to fit this perfectly.
Another possibility is that of people with a high frequency or, a high vibration – we are all made of atoms and atoms are full of energy, this enery vibrates at a frequency (remember those animations from school of all the round little particles bumping against each other, like they’re excited?), this made me think of the possibility that maybe people vibrate at such a frequency that they leave impressions on the places that they have been to, like a graffiti tag: ‘Claire woz ere’ if you will.
Inevitably though it is stories such as these that always lead to far more questions than answers, and I claim to be no expert. I only try to listen, think, understand, accept and pass on the stories I have been told. After all, these are stories to be told, in the dark, with a group of people, spoken above the light of a torch.
Thank you for reading.