Would You Believe It?

This morning I staked up the tomatoes.  Don subsequently came up with a more practical solution, not involving an ironing board..

Apparently someone has taken a photograph of the Loch Ness monster which is claimed to be the most credible yet.  Having been analysed by members of the US military it is declared definitely animate.  Over the years there have been many claimed sightings, and photographs subsequently found to be spurious.  Those of the Cottingley Fairies, taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two Edwardian schoolgirls, were closely studied by experts before finally all being declared fake.  They demonstrated that the camera could, indeed, lie.

Christ’s resurrection and ascension after his crucifixion can only be explained as miracles.

Having never seen a ghost, I remain sceptical.  However, there are two family stories which make me wonder.  I related these to Don this morning.  My mother is far from gullible, as was my grandmother.  Grandma died shortly before her ninety ninth birthday, disappointing great-grandchildren who had been looking forward to the Queen’s telegram.  Her last nine months had been spent in a care home, simply because Mum could no longer keep picking her up from the floor.  During her last weeks she spoke of a little blond boy who would visit her in her room.  She got quite fond of him.  One morning she told Mum about her uninvited but welcome visitor’s latest appearance.  On that occasion he had simply smiled, beckoned, and walked away.  Grandma died that afternoon.  When Mum told a carer about this, she replied: ‘Your mother is not the first to have experienced this.  Underneath the floorboards outside her room lies an ancient well.  Many years ago, before this building existed, a four-year old boy drowned in it.’

A visitor to Lindum House about a dozen years ago described a similarly inexplicable phenomenon.  We had already been told by the very practical down-to-earth man who lived on the other side of the fence at the bottom of our garden, of a woman he had seen in our orchard.  She was wearing long black Victorian clothing.  We naturally doubted his perception, joked about ‘The Lindum House Ghost’, and didn’t think much more about it.  Some years later, a nine-year old boy and his family were spending the night with us.  In the evening, he walked from the hall into the drawing room.  This lad was, at the time, thought to have Asberger’s syndrome.  He certainly possessed the extraordinary drawing ability which sometimes accompanies that condition.  As he entered the room, he asked: ‘Who was that lady?’.  The puzzled group asked what he meant.  He proceeded to sit down on the sofa with pencil and paper, and produce a drawing which, to this day, lies in the Lindum House Visitors’ Book.  It depicts, in perfect detail, the double front doors from the inside of the house.  One door is ajar.  Slipping through the gap is a woman in a long black Victorian dress.  As she is half in and half out of the house, she is pictured in profile as if vertically bisected, only her rear section in view.

Why would our dog, Paddy, sometimes come to a halt and appear to follow, with her eyes, something we couldn’t see?  There you have it; a woman near death; a boy with an unusual brain; and a dog.  Were they aware of beings we cannot sense?

Dad's portrait photocopy

That is not quite all.  My Dad died on Christmas Day, 1987.  On Christmas Eve 1988, I decided to make a pastel portrait of him for Mum.  I worked well into the night, unsuccessfully trying, time and time again, to get the mouth right.  I was working from a photograph in which he was smoking a cigarette.  I wanted to exclude the fag and therefore had to remember the full formation of his mouth.  I kept erasing my markings until I feared for the paper underneath.  In the small hours of Christmas morning, Dad’s live face appeared on the page.  All I had to do was trace his lips.  My four siblings all describe the final expression as ‘Dad winding himself up to tell a joke.’

Outside Le Code Bar this evening, Don and I shared a bottle of Chateau Hauts-Cabroles, Bordeaux 2009.  As it made sense to eat something as well, he had an Oriental pizza and I had a Calzone.  Both were delicious.  After a while these had subsided enough for us to be able to squeeze in cremes brulees.


  1. It was good of your dad to come back and pose for you. I do believe you saw him. I’ve been visited by people who died. Just a sense of their presence, then I hear that they’d just died. One time it was the spinster aunt of a friend (there was a time when we all had spinster aunts living with the family). Now this lady lived with her nephew’s family; one of those invisible people at gatherings. I always sat and chatted with her when I visited my friends so I was not surprised that she called around to say goodbye on the night she died unexpectedly. She was not someone whom I think of or was close to, so I know I did not dream of her. Another visit I had was from my 23 year old boyfriend. I was unwell and he’d visited, sitting on the chair beside my bed. During the night I half opened my eyes and felt his presence on the chair where he sat. The chair was empty but the sense of his presence was solid. In the morning I heard that he’d collapsed and died on his way home.

  2. These are great stories, Derrick, and I am willing to believe each one of them. I have a few curious stories of my own in life, and since my analytical brain is not able to make sense of it, I just tell myself what you said above, “Some things we just can’t explain or understand. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.” (I threw in that last part myself. πŸ™‚ ) Your portrait is so wonderful. That is a beautiful gift for your Mum.

  3. Perfectly lovely, each experience shared. Wonderful that your dad decided to help you out, having likely watched over you while you were trying so hard and determining he could easily solve that dilemma…or at least, so it seems to me. What a great face and very good portrait!

  4. Some amazing experiences. Small, in themselves, but with so very many having had them it leads one to believe that it can’t all be ‘weather balloons’ used to explain away flying saucers. I’ve seen a UFO personally, by the way. Or an aircraft capable of doing a right-angled turn in a split-second.

  5. It seems whatever it is that lingers back on the earth needs a medium to present a glimpse of itself to the living, and that medium is a believing consciousness, such as of those at the portals of transience, or the uniquely gifted, or the grieving, or someone having a consuming guilt. A sceptic mind, therefore, must come at the cost of that sixth sense. The dying aunt of my father, who has since joined her in the wherever of nothingness, had bequeathed to him a beautiful cow called ‘Shyama’. The cow stopped eating fodder after her passing and somehow freed itself from the shed and fell into a well one night not long after that. The aunt manifest herself in many shadows and trees that my father happened to cross, especially at dusk. I could see the mixture of awe and fear in my father’s eyes every time he recalled those moments.

  6. I love these stories! So glad Grandma got to enjoy the boy’s company in her last days and the comfort he provided for her transition.

  7. Great portrait. I have experienced a number of strange things which could be explained as ghosts or similar things, but as I don’t believe in ghosts they were quite clearly optical illusions and the movements of an old house. πŸ™‚

  8. Some days just out of the blue I am certain I smell Graham’s aftershave, almost as if he has walked into the room.

    You may be interested to read my reply to Andrew about about having a room exorcised in our present house.

    I enjoyed reading your ghost story, Derrick.

  9. Thank you for sharing the unusual stories, Derrick. I’ve enjoyed them, especially Grandma and the little boy; your father’s face appearing on the Christmas day. Also, thank you for reading my story and for the link.

  10. What a lovely portrait of your father πŸ™‚ And a wonderful story about the help that arrived for it! The other stories were very interesting too – the little boy in the well in particular!

  11. Derrick, that portrait is fabulous! Wow! I understand about the ghosts. I have encountered a ghost once in my life, although I put it in a poem so now it happens whenever I read it ;). I was on a staircase and the ghost passed through my body–ships passing in the night, so to speak.

  12. Even though I am a pragmatic realist, I am also very open to the idea there is more than we know about. I have frequently had prescient dreams – one in particular was extremely valuable in keeping me calm in a dangerous situation, as I knew what was to come, which played out exactly as I’d dreamt it six months earlier.
    Often when I am dropping off to sleep, a face will emerge in front of my closed eyelids. I haven’t worked out who it is yet, and it is not always the same face. Similarly, I haven’t worked out why (yet).
    On the other hand, when my girlfriend was dying, we made a pact that if she was ‘out there’ she’d send me a certain sign. It’s been six years, and no sign yet πŸ™‚

    1. I am the same as you, Gwen, and don’t remember much about dreams, but have woken twice in the knowledge of significant surprise deaths (about 60 years apart). Thanks very much.

  13. We should be sitting outside in the dark around a fire – the best setting for sharing stories of glimpses into another realm. These abound, whether we wish to acknowledge them or not. Your accounts here are fascinating. I could add a few of my own …

  14. They are fascinating and compelling stories. As Hamlet also says, I am convinced that “β€œThere are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  15. When my dad Ben died in Arizona in 1974, my Aunt went down to stay with my mother for awhile. One night they were sitting watching TV and my aunt pointed to a starburst clock hung on the wall over the TV and commented on it. My mother said, “Ben always hated that clock!” And the minute she said it, it fell off the wall. Mother always considered it a visitation.

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