I'm going to preface what I'm about to write by saying that I believe it is unlikely that ghosts and hauntings exist. I want to believe, but I just can't step outside of my drive to delve, test, and analyze. Faith is a concept I have difficulty with. A thing must have consistant evidence for me to believe it, and what people say they see and hear in the dead of night (or want to see and hear) is notoriously untrustworthy evidence. I've put myself in plenty of creepy places when I was younger in the hope of experiencing something supernatural, and although I was afraid, I perceived nothing that could not be explained.
However, something just happened to me. Something curious.
Because I've never felt anything like it, I thought I would explain.
Friday afternoon, I hopped onto our motorcycle to tour the windy Pennsylvania back roads and capture autumn photographs. The ride carried me about 15 miles from home. There, I turned up a promising road called Flowing Springs Road.
Twisting among colonial stone houses and barns, the road crested, then folded down through vistas overlooking farms and wooded pastures. I bottomed in a flat valley and climbed a gentle hill toward Hollow Road.
I saw it to my left.
A farm. Old and odd.
Nestled in clumps of overgrown trees, the house towered mansion-like with columns and different facades poking in different directions through the branches. Dark windows. White walls. The way a mansion might look in the 1850's, I thought. Not as opulent as today, but tighter. More economical and compact.
The ground stretched around it in an open square. No tilled field. Just a small old barn. A few towering trees shaded the lawn.
A shiver tickled through me as my motion brought me around. I eased to a stop sign, then turned onto Hollow Road. Higher over the property now, I traveled the other side. I looked down over the grounds.
And my dread grew.
Because I knew it was haunted. And I knew because even though the road and trees blurred as I drove, another vision overlaid my sight. A vision like a recent memory playing inside my head. I saw her. A middle-aged woman with a calm face shaped more long than round. In flashes I saw her standing on the grounds. When the evening pressed quiet and lonely. Other visions of her were at the window and the expression on her face. One vision was her body, dead. The end of her suffering after weeks of disease.
She could be many places quickly now, as quick as your mind can shift through thoughts. But then again, she could linger too, when she was especially sad and alone. All of these impressions flowed into me in about 20 seconds. They intruded. My thoughts had been wishing for more colorful leaves. Ghosts were very far from the mind.
I didn't immediately react to what I had seen. I stopped down the road to take some pictures of horses and a weathered wagon. But the visions trickled deeper into my consciousness. As they did, the impact increased. Why were they so clear? Why were they so fast and coherent?
Although it made me uncomfortable, I turned around to pass again. No new images hit me, but I did feel even more strongly that I didn't want to linger. I snapped a picture (it doesn't begin to do it justice), then hurried on.
Curious, like I said.
Perhaps it was nothing more than my creative brain taking off. Yet, I've never experienced that kind of intrusive vision before.
Who knows. Maybe that woman did speak to me.
Maybe someday, it will happen again.