alone. The house is quiet but for the low strains of music from the stereo. The glow of a single lamp cuts a circle of light
around your chair, but no farther. The novel you’re reading holds you engrossed, and at first you ignore the stealthy
sounds at the very corners of your attention … until you see a movement from the corner of your eye.
A movement where none should be.
A number of possibilities run through your mind, each more fantastic than the previous: your family
came home early and climbed noiselessly through a window to keep from disturbing you; a gang of mimes is executing a silent
home invasion; the bats have escaped from the attic, and never mind that you don’t have an attic; your house is haunted.
Perhaps this isn’t the first inkling you’ve had of paranormal activity: items in your home randomly
relocate themselves; the cat stares fixedly at the shadowy ceiling or the darkened corners, tracking invisible prey; the dog
growls at the gloomy hallway outside the den, although you see nothing there.
of your imagination, you think. You probably just laid the hammer down in the kitchen instead of the dining room like you
thought. No doubt the cat saw a tiny bug fluttering in the room that your eyes couldn’t pick out. And the dog…well,
he barks at the leaves fluttering in the trees in a light breeze, so who can believe him?
But what if it’s more?
the séance for a moment. I’m not talking about a fake séance designed to fleece someone out of his or
her inheritance or nonsense like that. I mean a real séance, where real contact is made. Where real information, known
only to one not controlling the gathering, is imparted. How did the medium know this information? Lucky guess—or supernatural
Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night,
certain that someone just said my name. My husband is sound asleep on the other side of me, so I know it’s not him.
I can never tell if the voice is male or female. Is it an architectural phenomenon that allows the very acoustic structure
of my house to record someone’s voice and, in ideal conditions, play it back? Or is there an unseen entity beside my
bed, calling me from slumber?
There’s no denying the spirit world
and its movement around us mortals. No one can say with absolute certainty just what these presences are. I believe, unequivocally,
in the supernatural. I believe that houses are haunted, that things move of their own accord, that those shadowy glimpses
of furtive movement I catch from the corner of my eye aren’t my imagination.
But I don’t believe in wraiths, poltergeists, ghosts, spirits,
or shades. How do I explain lights that turn on by themselves, cans of corned beef hash that disappear in the space of three
seconds, or the toilet seat that puts itself up? Or, more frightening to me than all the others, the voice the yanks me from
peaceful sleep and leaves me trembling in fear for hours afterward?
For me this word, distilled to its most simplistic form, means angels. How does this translate into poltergeists, ghosts,
and the like? First let’s tackle the word “paranormal.” While its broader meaning encompasses
everything from spooks to vampires and werewolves to telepathy and clairvoyance, the word literally means “beyond normal,”
normal being usual, regular, or natural as defined by our human understanding or expectancies. A good definition of angels,
wouldn’t you say?
I believe that the angelic realm exists
not in our dimension but in one alongside it, one that not only engulfs ours but interacts with it as well, completely invisible
to our eyes except when we’re allowed to see it. Does that sound too fantastic, too far-reaching? Think for a moment
on this excerpt from the story “La Horla” by French author Guy de Maupassant—penned in 1887—about a shadowy being tormenting a man into madness:
"Do we see the hundred-thousandth
part of what exists? Look here; there is the wind, which is the strongest force in nature. It knocks down men, and blows down
buildings, uproots trees, raises the sea into mountains of water, destroys cliffs and casts great ships on to the breakers;
it kills, it whistles, it sighs, it roars. But have you ever seen it, and can you see it? Yet it exists for all that."
Demons—those fallen angels given dominion
over the earth after being exiled from heaven. Their mission: to deceive and make us believe that there is the possibility
of an afterlife in our own realm. There is some debate whether these beings are able to interact with our realm, to interfere
with our person. Some put forth the theory that their only physical act of violation toward a human is possession. What, then,
are we to make of accounts of an invisible presence that manifests physical violence—including rape—against human
victims? Of séances where truly unexplainable phenomena occur?
mission for this article, when it was solicited, was to explain to you my unusual belief about the paranormal. Adequate words
fail me, and so I leave you with these:
It is not the wind causing objects to move.
Not the wind the cat is watching, or at which the dog is barking. Not the wind calling your name in the dead of night, summoning
you from the safety of somnolence. Not the wind, but angels, both magnificent and terrifying. The vase moving of its own accord
across the mantle could be an angel showing curiosity … or a demon driving you toward madness of the mind and soul.