All Souls

In the movie, the young couple are surrounded by boxes in their atmospheric house. The husband goes out to return the U-Haul, an errand that will take a couple of hours; the wife stays to unpack. She happily putters around; the afternoon wears on. Dusk creeps toward the sunny yard and the shining clapboards; it dims the light streaming into the empty rooms.

The young wife arises from unloading yet another box. She stands to stretch, glancing through the window at the wide lawn and the lengthening shadows. She looks again — a man is staring up at her! He is ragged, unkempt; his gaze is fierce. Where did he come from!

You, sitting in your theater seat, are plenty scared by the image alone, but the sound track has been judged just right, and a percussive punch jolts you straight upright. So what if you’re 19, or 23, or 25 and not a kid. Your heart races. You’re spooked when you leave the theater, spooked when you walk to your car, spooked as you unlock the door to your apartment, and spooked as you switch on the light.

After living in the city for many years, I bought my first house at the age of 49. After the movers left and I was alone, I thought of that movie scene more than once. My house, too, was older, and set in a sea of green. I did dare to look out the window while the day was bright, but as afternoon wore on, I stopped looking. Too scared.

The apartment I’d just left had ghosts. I never experienced them before I lived there, and I hope never to experience them again. I never got used to them and they did not go away when I asked them to. I’m not joking. There was nothing good about the experience and I told very few people about it. Trusted friends – skeptical, techy friends — checked out the apartment in every way they could think of, but could find no explanation for the things I described.

I always meant to investigate the history of the apartment, but I never did.


Too scared.

I don’t like to think about ghosts, spirits, or demons, and mostly I don’t. I’m a materially-oriented religious nut. I believe in God, and I expect to find that a ghostly whooshing sound is caused by dead leaves blowing across the pavement. I assume that the lights flicker because of a power surge. I don’t expect a stranger to materialize in the blink of an eye.

But I do believe that we don’t know everything. My friends’ scientific theories could not explain the occurrences in my old apartment. I don’t know what was going on there, but the most logical explanation I could come up with was that the mentalities and behaviors of past people still inhabited that space.

There are dead people I love, although they troubled me when they were in life. There are dead people I never knew, who died long before I was born, whom I love. There is a dead man I imagine sitting near me. Oh, how I want to see him again.

Is every soul still alive? Not just the innocent, the blinkered, the burdened, the ordinary saint, but the terrifying, the brutal, as well?

I can’t handle horror stories. Can you? When my nerves get the better of me, I pray.


Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Part 2 of this topic is here.

Part 3 of this topic is here.

October 25, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

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