at work, hiding out in the ladies’ room. I have this strange habit when I really want to be alone in a restroom: I look out from under the stall and make sure that nobody is there. This was a relatively small restroom with only a few stalls, so it was easy to peek out and see that nobody was there. Another odd thing about me is that sometimes I decompress in bathrooms without actually making use of said bathroom. This was one of those times. I sat on top of the toilet seat and enjoyed the silence. Until, that is, I heard the sound of high heels walking across the linoleum floor and heard the adjacent stall door open. Funny, I thought, I never heard the door open. I also didn’t hear the toilet seat open or anything else: total silence after the mystery woman entered the stall next to me. I wondered what she was doing there without making a sound, and I started to worry.
I peeked under the stall to see if she was actually there or not. No feet. I opened the stall door to see if anyone was there–but nobody was. The high heels had clicked their way into the bathroom and into the stall but never left. I realized that I had heard something that had not “happened” in a typical sense. For a moment, I realized yet again how extraordinary life can be, how odd and inexplicable. There are so many mysteries that happen to us daily, but how often do we really make the effort to understand them and study them?
I left the bathroom and decided that I had to tell someone about this. I found my colleague, pulled her aside, and told her what had just happened. “Oh my, this building has its very own ghost!” she laughed. I attempted to impress upon her how odd the incident truly was, and she laughed again before changing the subject. For the umpteenth time, I was shut down and the story forgotten soon after it was told. Why do people do this? Why do we assume that anyone who has a serious, anomalous ‘incident report’ to share is not worth our time or attention?
I have noticed at work that my interest in the paranormal is common knowledge to my colleagues and our administration. People ask me about my most ‘interesting’ or ‘terrifying’ ghost experience, yet completely dismiss my recounting of the incident as soon as they hear it. I have come to believe that there is real fear around the topic of the paranormal. I am not sure why. There are so many fascinating mysteries embedded in reality, yet most people need absolute clarity in their lives to feel comfortable, and the presence of the paranormal destabilizes our world, making it unfamiliar and strange. One either celebrates that oddness and mystery, or one runs from it, preferring the daily certainties.
When we refuse to take these reports (and note, I prefer ‘reports’ to ‘stories,’ because our culture does not accord stories the seriousness of truth) at face value and actually consider the truths they may hold for us, we diminish our collective experience in an essentially incomprehensible world. I do believe that we can make tremendous progress in understanding the realms of spirit and consciousness if only we were able to put aside the notion that it’s somehow laughable or crazy to wander outside the material world of our five senses.
I think we all see ghosts on a regular basis, but decide to code them out of our experience. We reject the strange, we turn our backs on the world of spirit, and we refuse to alter our world view to accommodate parapsychological phenomena. Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule, such as Marsha (pictured above), Erin, Jennifer and Kimberly. We have created this community where it is safe to explore all the implications of paranormal phenomena and what they might mean for our existence, not just in the here and now, but in the past and in the distant future, beyond the horizon of death. We don’t much care if the general public thinks we’re crazy or deluded: we know that we are not. We are, along with others in our field, pioneers of a new reality.
Who in your life believes you, no matter how much your paranormal ‘incident report’ seems to stretch the boundaries of the possible? Who will always listen with an open mind and an unending curiosity? Those people, my dear readers, are your true friends.
Keep filing those reports. You may be unfairly judged by small minded materialists, but one day, your version of reality might change everyone else’s world. We can only hope.
–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW