If I told people I’d seen a ghost they wouldn’t believe me, but I have had two encounters in my lifetime and my uncle had one as well. It took me a long time to understand what was going on and also to get past the shock of the confrontations to try and understand the purpose of it all. Long before my sister in law, Marlene, passed away from a fatal heart attack she gave me a photo of her Pop, her grandfather, who fought at Gallipoli in WW1 and was fortunate to come home when it ended. The photo was a sepia print and full length of him in his Australian Army uniform with his slouch hat on and holding his Lee-Enfield rifle out from his body in a stance popular for many young men in the time of the First World War.
It was approximately 6 x 8 inches in size and quite ragged and damaged needing to be touched up and repaired. It also had a letter written on the back of it penned in the trenches explaining the conditions of his struggle with trench feet. In those times there was a language to the soldier image of heroism and patriotism, and prints like these were cherished in families for generations.
I used to do photo retouching many years ago with brushes and pencils, before computer programs took over, but alas, with family commitments in those days I never got around to fixing up the photo and it remained in a drawer for some years. Pop meant a lot to Marlene and I do remember seeing him as an older man when I was very young. After she died the photo remained in the bottom drawer in my bedroom still untouched, where I kept photos to be attended to, not having a study at that stage. Early one morning as the night was passing into dawn, I was awakened by a presence that shot me out of bed faster than a bullet. I was staring in amazement at an apparition of Marlene, standing at the bottom of my bed near my bedroom drawers staring at me and at the same time holding tightly onto what appeared to be Pop’s photo. I remember blurting out in a somewhat frozen state, ‘What the bloody hell are you doing here,’ as my heart thumped uncontrollably. No answer came verbally, but the message was clear the photo should have long been attended to. It was her wish for it to be kept in the family as a remembrance of one who fought at that terrible battle at ANZAC Cove, Turkey. As I gingerly moved toward her she disappeared and I have never seen her again. Of course the photo was packed up the next day and sent to her daughter to deal with! I don’t know much about dimension, or stepping out of time, but the reality of the visit took place and has stayed with me for many years now.
After my mother died I was in a church service one morning and saw an apparition of her standing on a balcony and I telepathically received the words, ‘I’m alright love.’ It was another very real experience and she also quickly faded away and I have never seen her since, but it gave me reassurance to carry on. In 1928 my grandfather died due to complications of a punctured lung after falling off a ladder. He was a Drill Sergeant during the First World War training troops in Melbourne, before they were deployed to the front. The night he passed over he appeared at the bottom of my uncles bed giving him an awful start. He just stood there looking at him. His visit was to convey to my uncle that he was the eldest and he was to take charge and look after his mother and younger siblings, as he was a wage earner. My grandfather and grandmother had been separated for sometime. My uncle took on that responsibility so the family were able to manage, as many women in those days were not trained for any work other than housekeeping. There would have been no means for her to live on or to support her younger children.
It remains phenomenal to me how these events happen and it is often difficult to try and understand why they happen. I was brought up with many stories about apparitions and angels seen on the battlefields of the two world wars. Many accounts have been documented about them in diaries and letters, as well as in modern peace times. It seems to me to remain a form of communication from those passed on, which remains extraordinary and often misunderstood. I don’t view it as trying to make contact with deceased persons. It seems to be more an occasional paranormal event, perhaps connected to mind, consciousness and matter. It is however, an experience and a perception I will not forget.