An Unexpected Visitor

Post date: Jul 28, 2012 3:17:09 AM

As I've gotten older, I've become less inclined to believe in the supernatural. As a kid, I couldn't get enough of reading about ghosts, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, and the like. I believed it it all. As a teen I got really into the idea of telepathy and was convinced I was on the verge of being able to read thoughts. At times I'd hear people say things a moment before the same words actually came out of their mouths. I thought of the brain as both a transmitter and a receiver, and I figured there had to be a way I could learn to willfully pick up on all the mental transmissions around me. I never was successful, though. I also tried my hand at astral projection, but the only travels I ended up doing were in my dreams because I'd simply wind up falling asleep.

These days, I'm not as quick to jump to the "fun" conclusion. The most simple, logical solution is usually the one that rings true, and I've trained myself to examine the mysteries in life with a cautious eye. It's delightful to believe there are unexplained wonders surrounding us, but too often it's easy to get caught up in hoping for the fanciful and other-worldly only to overlook the plain and obvious.

Last night was really strange, though, and I'm still at a loss as to what exactly happened. At about 3:45 am, my wife and I were awoken by the sound of our daughter crying. She had been sleeping in our bedroom with us and our son, but her cry sounded far away. It turns out she was downstairs standing alone in the darkness. Being only two years old, she isn't necessarily the most agile stair climber, and doing so in the dark of night seems unlikely and dangerous. She is still nursing, so usually she only ventures out of the bedroom if she happens to be looking for Mama, which makes it all the more curious that she wound up downstairs. My first guess was she was simply sleepwalking, although she had never done so before.

The creepy thing is, the house felt different. Whenever people are in a home, they bring a bit of "life" with them. My wife and kids were out of town for a couple days last month and I was shocked at how empty and lifeless our home felt. A similarly odd feeling hit me when I rushed downstairs to my daughter last night, only it was almost the opposite: Our home felt like there was more life in it than usual. Before heading back upstairs I changed my daughter's diaper, and the feeling in our living room was definitely not how it usually is. I didn't feel scared, but the atmosphere was unusual.

I took a quick peek around to make sure everything was in order. All was quiet. The alarm was still set. No doors or windows were ajar. All was as it should be. But I couldn't fall back asleep very easily.

My son was also acting strange during the night. He was laughing very hard in his sleep, something he'll do from time to time, but last night was particularly pronounced. He also stuck really close to me all night long, at times pushing against me so hard I was having trouble holding my ground.

My wife and I chatted in bed for a while, and she pointed out it was exactly seven years since my sister had died. Both of our heads ran wild with the idea that her ghost had visited us, especially given how bizarre it was that our little girl had wound up downstairs in the middle of the night. We also discussed the logical options, such as the culprit being nothing more than sleepwalking, but that explanation didn't seem to satisfy my questions.

Morning finally came and I got the kids off to preschool while I headed off to work. Once my work day was done, I picked up my kids and as we drove home I asked them about last night. My son loves making up stories, so he spouted off a bunch of tales that he later admitted were fabricated, but one thing stuck out in them, which I'll get to in a moment. He claimed he had walked downstairs with his sister because one of our dogs was scared. The two kids stayed down there and played dolls for a little while then he headed back upstairs alone. Not long after, our daughter began crying. When I pressed a little more to see if he was telling the truth, he admitted that he made it all up. But who knows? He's only five years old and seeing as adults are rarely reliable witnesses, I wouldn't put any money on the validity of children's memories.

But the one aspect of his storytelling that had notable significance was the mention of a dragonfly. He said our dog was scared of a dragonfly, and later mentioned that the dragonfly had led him and his sister downstairs. We didn't think much of it at the time, but it had a great deal of meaning to us later in the evening.

On the off chance that the whole incident may have been sparked by my sister's ghost, my wife and I decided to take flowers to her grave. Perhaps my sister was upset we hadn't done anything special to remember her on her death anniversary. We purchased some pretty sunflowers and then drove to the cemetery.

After we put the flowers in a vase on my sister's gravestone, we brought the kids over to a nearby tree to look at the wind chimes hanging from it. That's when we noticed that there was a glass dragonfly at the top of a wind chime we had brought to the cemetery the last time we visited. It had been a couple months since we'd been there, and our son had no idea we were planning to go to take flowers there this evening, so his mention of a dragonfly stood out as being very peculiar.

Of course, it could all be coincidental or in his subconscious. Even though we didn't tell him we had plans to visit the cemetery, we had been talking extensively about my sister, and he could have somehow associated her with a dragonfly, even if it wasn't intentional. Nevertheless, both my wife and I were more than a little creeped out, and the notion that my sister was the cause of our strange night suddenly seemed to make the most sense.

But, to be honest, I know it's a crazy idea. My daughter was probably just sleepwalking, my son was likely having hilarious dreams, the mention of a dragonfly was nothing but random chance, and the significance of the day this all happened on could be nothing but a coincidence. However, I will say this: As we were walking from my sister's grave back to our car, I took a look over my shoulder and I swear there was a happy glow coming from where she is buried. The sunflowers were amazingly vibrant even from a distance, and I could only think that my sister was glad we visited her.