The Previous Chapter in The Paranormal Memoirs is here. I like houses with ghosts. I prefer them. Where else does the largest chunk of all that "charm" and "character" come from if not from spirit energies?
But it seems that a lot of people react to the presence of any spirit as a "negative" spirit, and, in my opinion, that's just not necessarily the case.
When I moved into the house I shared with my brother in 2003 (the house on Daniel) I had not yet begun to make the distinctions that you find me writing about now (trying to intellectually, theoretically qualify Things Which Defy Certainty) -- the differences between ghosts and spirit guides and angels....
I only observed that among the population of the invisible were those that came and went, those that came with the locations they inhabited, and those that came along with us, attached to us personally like parents or pets.
My awareness of these subjects had only just shifted to conscious -- the Daniel House is where I moved right after my encounters with Jesse, whom I wrote about in Stranger Angels. Daniel is where I took those first steps that led ultimately to my communicating and working with spirit guides. (And that is the arc of my personal history I am recounting in these memoirs.)
The Daniel House represents a bridge in memory and experience to the haunted Green House of my childhood. Living with my brother again as an adult seems to have either drawn new phenomena to me, or plugged me back in and turned up the volume.
Gray little black-shuttered Daniel came with great potential for ghosts and residual energy. It was built in the 1930s in a middle class inner-city neighborhood with the timid room dimensions of that pessimistic time. It wasn't the oldest house I've ever lived in, but it was the oldest house I spent a lot of nights in alone, listening... expecting.
Part of the promise of ghosts at Daniel came with the finished walk-up attic, an upper half-story with dormer windows and a permanent steep staircase behind a door at the back of the house. The ceiling height of the attic would have been irresistible to children -- and sure enough, the first time the leasing agent walked me through the house, he semi-apologized for the scribbles on the attic walls.
...Names printed in little kid scrawl; a few broken wax crayons, paper labels peeled off, stomped into the cracks between the floorboards; the murky window light like that of an abandoned terrarium....
How many spooky movies and horror novels begin with delicious little moments of foreshadowing just like this?
Since it was the last room he showed me, the realtor had no way of knowing how much more the possibility of a kid-haunted attic appealed to me than the refinished wood floors and the upgraded appliances, the new energy efficient water heater and the central heat and air conditioning.
And no telling what all that renovation might have awakened....
The plan was that, by sharing the house, my brother and I could both take advantage of the best of multiple worlds -- for my brother, who spent more time on the road touring with bands than at home, the arrangement would allow him to get rid of an expensive storage facility, and still have someplace to come home to, without having to maintain an apartment on his own. For me, well into my thirties, beyond any lingering tolerance for collegiate roommate situations, yet not financially stable enough to live alone in a city as expensive as Atlanta, co-habitating with my mostly absent brother would mean quasi-living-alone. I could enjoy reduced expenses, the place mostly to myself, and yet have an actual family member I could count on not to screw me over in one of those many ways that roommates can.
I know he didn't love the arrangement or benefit from it quite as much I did, but the timing was right for both of us -- he needed to go off on tour again in a hurry; I was moving back to town and starting a new job within a matter of days. With windows of opportunity as small as our overlapping circumstances, Daniel was serendipitous.
The first time I showed the place to my brother, he wanted to investigate the shed out behind the house and compare it to the attic. The lawn had just been mowed by the realty company in anticipation of our move-in date. We noticed the large rectangular depression in the yard beyond the back patio slab.
"My theory is they used to have a carport or something back here," I said.
"Looks like a bomb shelter to me." My brother squinted. His cheeks pulled back in a wince. Standing over the concave depression, he looked like he felt queasy. "They've obviously buried the entrance though."
Now, I've already told you that I believe he is one of the most psychically sensitive people people I know -- but also the most uncomfortable with it. He never talks about the paranormal in the present tense at all, although he will refer, matter-of-factly and with great detail, to our shared past experiences when we were kids.
He was a statue of second thoughts, staring down between his feet with a frown at the faint footprint of that forgotten underground room. I half-expected him to deliver an early-in-the-spooky-movie line like "I have a bad feeling about this..." or "Wait! Did you hear that?"
He muttered something fairly close: "No telling what's under this yard...."
My brother's reactions in reality will probably always be a disappointment compared to my magical world view -- still, I decided to downplay his first exploration of the attic. I lingered back on the stairs, not unlike how the realtor had positioned himself when he'd shown it to me, offering dismissive responses and body language that said "Whatever. Nothing to see here. Let's go back down."
I don't know if my brother spotted the children's drawings on the walls in the corner. He only pronounced the attic's security as a favorable place to store his expensive surplus sound equipment.
He left to go rent a Uhaul.
Before moving anything into the house, I performed a ritual walk-through to introduce myself to the ghosts, to map any active vortex or portal in etheric dimensions coinciding with the physical space. (I prefer to wait and call the archangels into their protective posts at the four corners of the property later -- after I'm all moved in. Like a lid or a seal or a deadbolt; a moat around me and mine.)
Once the keys are yours it's hard to resist bringing something in with you on that first visit to a new place. You think Why waste a trip over without throwing a few things in the trunk? Doesn't make any sense when you can easily predict just how sick you'll be in the next day or so of all that back and forth....
But an empty house is like that pause between breaths in yoga, the moment that is neither inhaling or exhaling, the midpoint of the swing free from gravity, neither kicking up toward the sky or dropping back to earth.
Some of the greatest sources of power can only be found in Between Things, and most people feel a need hurry through that unnerving discomfort, as minor as a dash through the rain without an umbrella between the car and the front porch roof overhang. The stillness of the in between can be peaceful or its silence can be deafening, depending on your personal comfort with sustaining a sense of timelessness, of nowhere, of nothing, of namelessness.
This moment is rife with magic -- you only get one such moment per move. Once you bring in your pets, your thoughts and emotions, your friends and family, your personal belongings steeped in your energy... the spirits have already started shifting, ink dropped in water, smoke torn and curled by your breezing in.
...to be continued...
Image credit Leeni via Creative Commons on Flickr
The Next Chapter in The Paranormal Memoirs is here.