Cemeteries, Death

Guided Lantern Tour of My Local Cemetery: I Encountered a “Something.”

*I wrote this after I came home on Saturday night.  I couldn’t fall asleep.  I’m glad I wrote this when I did.  I had planned on posting on Sunday morning, but I wanted pics to go with and my Internet connection was running slow.  Too many thunderstorms were rocking through the area.  Technology isn’t really my friend.  Long story short, I’m posting this on Monday instead.

Also, my brain is desperately trying to rationalize what I experienced in the cemetery.  Doubt has crept in, and it brought friends.  If I hadn’t wrote everything down shortly after I came home, the logical part of me would have blamed everything on an overactive imagination, and my memories would be tainted.  My mind WANTS a reasonable explanation.   Admitting that I had a brush with something supernatural, in my opinion, is NOT reasonable, even if I know in my heart that I did meet “something” out there.     

The weather was wet and sloppy, but Saturday’s lantern-lit cemetery tour didn’t get cancelled.  YAY!!!  I’ve been looking forward to this tour for about a month.  It’s the cemetery that’s featured on my blog’s banner at the top of the page.  I’ve spent a lot of time taking pictures in this particular cemetery.  It was nice to have stories to go along with the names on the headstones.

*The majority of the pics shown are all from 10-9-12.  I tried to take pics on 10-13-12’s tour, but it was WAY too dark out for pics with my camera.  The tour took place from 7 pm 9 pm and there were storms rolling through, so no star light, moon light, or any other kind of light besides lanterns and flashlights.

See? Crappy night pics in the rain show NOTHING! The streaks of light are rain drops coming down and you can only “sort of” see a tree in the background. Yippy-skippy! That’s why I decided NOT to bother with night pics.  Seriously?  What would be the point?

I suppose I should give a little background info about myself before I get into the “ghost story” portion of my tale.  I tend to run skeptic when people share stories of paranormal activity.  OK.  I’m skeptical about MOST things, not JUST stuff of the paranormal variety.  It’s not that I don’t believe that “something” could be out there, but the logical side of me can often see mundane answers to the unexplained.  I’m good at thinking around corners.

So…when I’m told by several coworkers, over the years, that the building I once worked in for ten years had paranormal activity going on inside of it…well let’s just say that I never saw any evidence of this.  “My area” in this building, was also near where the electrical boxes were located and my backroom was poorly lit.  Creepy?   Maybe.  I did see a few spiders over the years, but one would think that if there were ghosts or spirits there, I would have noticed…something, especially since all the activity seen was supposedly all in “my area.”

In the basement where I work at now. For some reason, no one wants to come down here. Hmm….

But wait!  There’s more!  Some of my friends have a theory as to why I never get to see anything out of the ordinary.  I was told that as soon as I would come into work, it was as if the whole building let out a sigh of relief.  “Everything’s going to be all right.  Juli’s here.”  Paranormal activity at work only happened when I had the day off or I was on vacation…as if my vacations don’t have enough problems!  LOL

Now as flattering as this is, it’s also ridiculously amusing.  If their theory is correct, I can’t see spirit’s misbehavior because there’s something about my personality makes them NOT misbehave.  Does this make any sense?  I had someone who thought she was psychic tell me almost the same thing, but in a wordier way, of course.  I put people at ease, even the dead ones.  You can see me rolling my eyes all the way over here!  Yeah…

It really is a funny theory, and it makes it next to impossible for anyone to prove if there are any such beings as ghosts around me.  It’s like a bad joke:

“Huh…NOTHING happened!”

“See!  There ARE spirits lurking all around you, but we can’t prove it because YOU’RE here and they LIKE you!!!”  🙂

Hubby enjoys teasing me and has expanded on this theory.  He says that I tend to repeat the same stories over and over again, and that sends the ghosts back to sleep.  Sassy Hubby!  LOL  One of the MANY reasons why I love him!  😉

Also of note, I don’t watch scary movies, or movies where things are haunted.  My thoughts about paranormal stuff aren’t as badly tainted by Hollywood as they are for some.  When I go into a cemetery, I notice the landscaping, the statuary, the architecture of the mausoleum.  Old cemeteries are beautiful and were meant to be enjoyed the same way one might enjoy going to the park.  I don’t think negatively about the people buried there.  I’m not worried that someone’s dead grandparents are going to try and grab me.  I’m more concerned about the living, when it comes to my safety, than the dead.  For me, cemeteries are NOT creepy.

With my background in mind, as you can expect, I wasn’t looking for ghosts on this tour.  I didn’t bring a friend along, not this time.  I was looking for information.  Our guide has studied the history of the town  and this local cemetery for over a decade.  She was EXTREMELY knowledgeable and was able to answer all of questions I remembered to ask.  She’s also the head of the local paranormal society.  Go figure.

Going into the cemetery. 10-9-12

Anyways, I decided to keep an open mind, as much as a “doubting Juli” can, even when our guide commented that she could feel an unusual amount of activity.  While that seemed to make about half of our group of twenty nervous, I felt completely calm.  I’ve spent so many hours in this particular cemetery, it’s like hanging out in my own backyard.  I know which headstones NOT to trip over and where the gopher holes are.  I know the names on my favorite monuments.  I know the trees and the best places to stand to get the light just right when taking pics late in the afternoon.  Even in the dark, this was NOT a scary place and I was just there less than a week ago, taking pics of this cemetery at sunrise.  It’s a pretty little cemetery.

Mausoleum. 10-9-12

The tour stayed purely informational until we reach the back of the cemetery, where the mausoleum is.  Our guide claimed that there’s quite a bit of paranormal activity that surrounds this area.  She tried to get one of the spirits to turn on or off a flashlight.  I had the impression that they didn’t feel like doing “stupid pet tricks.”

Mausoleum. “Children’s area” is to the right, not shown. 10-9-12

Now I will admit, I don’t normally take pics around the mausoleum area.  I don’t blame it on negative spiritual energy.  I think it has a lot to do with the woods behind it.  I’m cautious, but not paranoid, when I’m shooting pics by myself.  In general, especially being a woman, I think it’s always best to bring a buddy along with when you’re “playing” in the cemetery or anywhere else that’s isolated.  I’m concerned that someone LIVING could be hiding in there, behind the scrub and trees.  It’s a safety thing.  But on Tuesday, the maintenance crew was out, raking leaves, mowing lawns, and such…so even though I went alone, I wasn’t by myself, and I ventured ALL over the place.  While I was with our guide on Saturday, I felt nothing, even when the rest of the group got nervous.  The entire time, I felt safe.

When we got to the “children’s area,” our guide stopped by the grave of a child who’d died when he was around five or six years old.  She claimed that a lot of activity goes on around this area, too.  She talked to the spirit, tried the flashlight trick, then put out her hand and said that there was a “cold spot” where the spirit was.  Most of our group put out their hand to try and feel the the “cold spot.”  I’m a skeptic so I waited before I also put out my hand.  I only put mine out for a second or two.

I was dressed for the weather: gloves, a wide-brimmed wool hat, polar-fleece riding-britches under loose-fitting jeans, a lightweight turtleneck and other moisture-wicking light layers under a wool sweater, waterproof jacket, and warm, waterproof work boots.  While I didn’t look like the “Michelin Man” on the outside, I could have stayed outdoors all night, and have remained toasty warm.  I know how to dress for outdoors.  I owned a horse for many years.  I know how to layer-up for cold, wet weather conditions.  I’m no stranger to the tricks and games the weather can play.

I’d barely put my hand out, and my ring finger and pinkie finger went cold on my right hand, then a slight numbness spread across my entire hand, then ALL my fingers went cold.  The guide gave me a funny look.  I reluctantly told her that I could feel the cold spot, too.  That was enough excitement for me.  I slowly moved my hand back to my side.  The guide said to me, “Whoa!  He likes you.”  I didn’t say anything to the guide or the group.  Skeptic Juli understands the power of suggestion.  I took a psychology course in college, and I’ve done LOTS of reading on my own.  The mind is a strange playground.  I know this.  What I can’t explain is when the rest of the group moved their outstretched hands towards me, trying to feel this spirit, all of a sudden, I felt my right side go cold, under the protection of my right arm.  I swear it felt like the cold version of when my son snuggles up against me and does his “Velcro-the-kid” impersonation.  It was just that fast.  One second I felt a cold numbness, and the next…it felt as if this “something” had decided to hug up against me.  Even weirder, for a spit-second my maternal instincts took over, and I know I took a protective half-step back, as if the mama-bear in me wanted to protect this…”whatever,” from being pawed at by our group.  People slowly stepped away.  The guide claimed that she couldn’t feel the cold spot anymore.  I didn’t tell anyone what I felt, what I’d experienced.  I had a hard time wrapping my brain around it.  I’m not one of “those” people.  Our guide gave me a look, but said nothing.

Even as I write, I can’t rationally explain what happened to me.  The rest of my body was toasty warm, but as we moved to the next area of the cemetery, I could feel the coldness and numbness increasing around my right hand, and the cold presence of “something” cold, snuggled against my right side.  And through it all…I never felt afraid.  Sure, my brain wasn’t exactly thrilled that it couldn’t decipher a logical explanation as to what was happening, but whatever I felt, it didn’t want to harm me.  I know this.  No alarm bells went off inside my head.  It wasn’t any scarier than if one of my nephews had decided to give Auntie Juli a hug.  The guide gave me a weird look at one point and randomly told me that I my fingertips might feel cold for up to twenty minutes after an encounter.  I think I might have answered back with a helpful, “Oh…OK.”  Meanwhile, I knew “something” had decided to come with me.  An escort, if you will.  I could feel it holding my hand.  It wasn’t a scary sensation.  Not at all.  It felt no scarier than being around any living child.

The rest of the children’s area was a little ways away from my “new buddy’s” grave site.  There were pinwheels on many of the graves and other decorations.  Our guide tried to get the spirits to do their “stupid pet tricks” with the pinwheels.  Make them spin.  Make them stop.  As I walked by, there was activity, but when I stopped, it stopped.  I could still feel the coldness to my right, the same side as the activity.

Our guide had us all gather around one headstone, to block any possible wind.  At some point I hunkered down, curiosity getting the better of me.  In for a penny, in for a pound!  I never claimed to be a rocket-genius.  I felt a coldness on a small patch of my left forearm, maybe three inches across, my ring finger and my pinkie went cold.  It was soft, light touch, but there wasn’t any numbness.  The rest of my arm stayed warm.

I didn’t say anything to ANYONE.  I don’t know why, but it didn’t seem right to involve the rest of the group.  I had the weird impression that I had one of the “whatever it was,” on either side of me, though the one on my right was MUCH stronger than the one to my left.  They were flanking me, watching the rest of our group.  Don’t ask me how I knew this.  Don’t ask me why they decided to hang with me, the non-believer of the group.  Maybe I put out a “mom vibe.”  Maybe it was the hat.  Maybe it was because I have been to this cemetery many times before, and I have great respect for the history of those that have walked before us on this Earth.  Regardless, I don’t think they wanted to “play,” and I certainly was the only person in our group who didn’t ask them to perform.  I don’t believe anything good coming from such encouragement, but that’s just me.  And as silly as this sounds, I still didn’t feel any fear. None at all.  I don’t know what these “things” wanted, but I did feel a strong, maternal, protective vibe.  No “stupid pet tricks!”  No! No! No!  Not on MY watch!  Silly?  Maybe.  Hubby and I never made our kiddo do “stupid pet tricks” when he was a baby, either.  That’s not how we roll.   Maybe they appreciated that.  I know I felt very safe, even though I had two unknown “somethings” gathered near me.

I’m a hat person. This is the hat I was wearing. It’s my favorite. While it may look a little fussy, it’s really durable because its made of wool. It’s great in the rain and bad weather.  It keeps it’s shape. I’d rather wear a hat than try to use an umbrella in the dark! I’ve owned this hat for years. *I always store it upside down in a hat box. That’s the secret to keeping hats in good shape. You NEVER store them brim side down. 😉

The “somethings” stayed behind when we headed towards the newer area of the cemetery.  I felt them quietly let go of me.  Several times our guide mentioned that the spirits “liked me,” but she didn’t say this loud enough for the rest of our group to hear after my “encounter.”  She didn’t say this to anyone else, either.  I didn’t encourage her nor did I have any other close encounters after that, which is just as well.  I never felt threatened or frightened, but I certainly wasn’t looking to experience anything else out of the ordinary.  Two encounters were plenty!  I wish I had a logical explanation as to what happened, but I’m glad I didn’t say anything while I was experiencing…whatever it was.  I’m glad that I waited until I came home to jot down my thoughts and feelings.  I think a good chunk of our group was looking for spooky Halloween fun.  I didn’t want to turn my brush with the paranormal into something cheesy.  I wanted to be respectful of my encounter…if that make ANY sense at all.

The experience that I had…goes against just about everything I’ve been taught about the hereafter.  If these were spirits, or ghosts, or some sort of echo left of the children there…Why?  What business would children have, being “stuck” in a cemetery?  How could this have happened?  If the “whatever’s” weren’t children…then what were they?  I KNOW I felt “something,” and though it sounds insane, that strong “something” felt like a child.  I know it wasn’t in my head.  “Something” decided to hang out out with me, to hold my hand, to hug up to my side me…exactly like a child would.  And though the logical part of me is screaming, “It COULDN’T have been a child!  That’s NOT how death works!  There’s no such things as ghosts.”

What I felt is messing with my belief system.  That’s…unsettling.  Honestly, it felt as though a child had come to me, looking for a hand to hold in the dark.  I wasn’t scared of it, just like I wouldn’t be afraid if any other child needed a hand to hold.  That’s what moms do.  That’s just the way things are.  I responded out of pure instinct.  Wouldn’t that same instinct kick in if it had be something else?  Something wrong or evil?  I think it would have.  I’ve felt “wrongness” before and I’ve ALWAYS trusted my instincts when it’s happened.  Fear is a part of us for a reason.  It’s there to keep us safe.

I don’t know how I should feel about any of this.  It wasn’t as if I wanted to have a paranormal experience.  Even though my experience was pleasant, I would NOT recommend seeking out the unknown.  I don’t think that’s a smart idea.  I wish I could wrap my brain around this, stick it all in a nice little compartment, throw a ribbon on it, and be done with it.  That’s not life nor anything else in my world.  Nothing is that easy!

In my mind, if there were such things as spirits, still hanging around after death, the reasonable part of me thinks it should have been a scary experience…but it wasn’t.   I felt calm and at peace.  I don’t have the words to describe it.  I’ve been around death.  I held my mother’s hand when she passed away in the hospital, complications of Multiple Sclerosis.  I wasn’t frightened then either.  But sitting at my desk, looking back, I find myself feeling…sad.  The mom in me hates the possibility that a child’s spirit could be left in a cemetery.  I don’t understand it.  There are so many “whys,” and I don’t have any answers.  I don’t like unsolved mysteries.  The fix-it part of me wishes she could do…something.  Who knows what!  The logical side of me says, “WHOA there!  You don’t know ANYTHING about this kind of stuff…you need to use your head!  Don’t do anything without a little information first.  You don’t believe in this stuff…remember?”  Yeah…but now I don’t know what to believe.  That’s frustrating.

If someone told this story to me, I don’t think I’d believe them.  Call me a hypocrite, but that much I DO know.

Have a great day!

Juli

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5 thoughts on “Guided Lantern Tour of My Local Cemetery: I Encountered a “Something.””

  1. Oh my stars, I understand what you mean! I am a total skeptic about things like this. It goes against my religious beliefs. And yet, I had an unexplainable experience at the Biltmore House earlier in the year. Here is the link if you want to read it. http://lauralynnelliott.com/2012/01/24/a-strange-experience/ I don’t usually like to put links in my comments on other people’s blogs, but I didn’t think you would mind since I’m showing you a similar post of mine. 🙂 (It will probably just show up as words instead of a link, but you never know until you hit the post button. LOL)

    1. I’m glad you shared this link, Lauralynn!

      I don’t know how to rationalize everything. When I read your post, it felt as though the people had left an impression of some sort, on that room. I can’t explain how that can happen, but I believe you.

  2. I know what you mean. I grew up in a haunted house, I believe in ghosts etc but nine tenths of the time if I hear someone tell a story I think “yeah right” unless they’re a credible source in my book. My brother and mother are credible sources, as is hubby, and a handful of other people – including a certain Juli without an e 😉 I can’t see why you;d make it up or imagine it as you don’t put me in mind of anyone with that kind of over active imagination! Plus the cold/numb/tingly thing happened to me once, LOL! We were at Pythian Caslte in Springfield, which is supposed to be super haunted. ranted we went on a sunny day, but we went through all the haunted rooms – the ones they had on the ghost hunters show – and nada. Even the “interrogation room” wasn’t so much creepy as claustrophobic. So then were’ walking down this hallway and there’s what looks kind of like a gun cabinet in the wall – what it is is they cut out a doorway to start a tunnel and then quit – it’s maybe a foot deep – and it has this full door on it with a little grill. So me being the touch everything person I am sticks my hand in it, palm flat on the back of it, and my arm up to my elbow (about how deep it was) goes cold and tingly. So we ask the lady about it and she says they used to use that as solitary confinement when they had POWs there – it’s just big enough for a man to stand in. After a few minutes my arm went back to normal, and I kind of convinced myself I just somehow pinched a nerve or something – I couldn’t get anyone else to try it to compare it – and I didn’t even tell them why I just said, “hey, stick your hand in there” and the answer was “no”.

    I have pretty much zero experience with children ghosts though. people will say “Oh, there’s a child here” and past having what I call a creepy sensation, but is really more that feeling you get right before a thunderstorm rolls in – I got nothing. It’s mostly angry, miserable, unhappy ones that say hello to me. No idea why!

    Okay, I will stop rambling now.

    1. I agree, Jo with a plethora of “e”s. 😉 Thank you for sharing this with me. You’re on my list of believable people, too. 🙂
      The numbness reminded me of a pinched nerve sensation, but without ANY pain and there was an even amount of pressure to go along with it.
      When I tried looking this up, to see who else has experienced something like what happened to me…I got NOTHING, or at least nothing that was useful. There are a LOT wacky websites out there and they counter-dict each other and sometimes even themselves. I haven’t found anything helpful. No offense to anyone else who might read this, but there are a lot of nut jobs out there!
      A lot sites seem to want to throw an Angel/Demon spin on things. That didn’t seem to fit my experience, not at all.
      It’s interesting that you said this: “It’s mostly angry, miserable, unhappy ones that say hello to me.”
      I never got the impression that the “whatever” was happy…just like a child who needs a hand to hold isn’t necessarily happy. It seemed almost…lonely and maybe a little frightened. It needed a hand to hold. I don’t think it wanted to be messed with. I think my mama-bear stubborn streak may have attracted it to me, but who knows? It didn’t WANT the group to reach out towards it. That matches NOTHING out there on the web, but it makes sense to me. Why would the dead want any less respect than the living? It’s like, “Yes, I’m here. Please don’t randomly try to touch me.” Even when I reached my hand out, I didn’t believe it existed, therefore I didn’t act aggressively towards it. Thank goodness, it never seemed angry. That would NOT be good!
      I enjoy going to this cemetery, but now I don’t know how to feel about being there. Do I avoid this area? That seems a bit extreme.
      And silly me, I have had this nagging desire to go back and stick a solar light on the grave site where this encounter occurred. I’ve felt this way every since that night. I don’t know why. I don’t even stick things on my own mother’s grave. Then again, when she died, I could feel that she had gone. I’ve never had a paranormal experience with her, not even a dream.
      I wouldn’t want to buy one of those bright solar lights, something soothing, like the ones that change color. Maybe I want to do this because the grave is all by itself, away from the other headstones, away from the rest of the children’s area. In my mind, I associate light with safety. When I type this out, it SOUNDS crazy, but it doesn’t FEEL crazy. Sort of like, “Sorry. I can’t give you a hand to hold, but here’s a nightlight for you.” I’ll have to think some more on this. I suppose I could justify it in my head that I’m making sure that this particular headstone doesn’t become a trip hazard. Yeah…right. That sounds even crazier.

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