Maybe it's the music I've been listening to or the television I've been watching, but my mind has been on death lately. This is why I asked my sister if she knew where the copy of Aunt Louise's ghost photo was stored. She did and I was eager and nervous to see it again after all these years.
My thoughts of ghosts and an afterlife have always been with a skeptical stance. Even at the age of 6 or 7, the notion of spending eternity in mansions of gold with my entire family didn't sound appealing. I often imagined, especially at bedtime, that my soul would be set free upon death. Maybe I would be able to drift through space and see everything. Yeah, my childhood view of an afterlife may have been influenced by DOCTOR WHO, but I still like the idea. Maybe that's why The Beatles' Across the Universe is on my funeral playlist.
It was the early 1990's when my sister and our mom told me that Aunt Louise had a ghost photo. I knew Aunt Louise was eccentric on a good day, so I was extremely skeptical. My sister and our mom understood this but claimed it was a compelling image. Even with their opinion, I had doubts. I imagined a glare or smudge on the photo, so I had to see this alleged ghost with my own eyes.
I tagged along the next time my sister and our mom visited Aunt Louise. She was a loud character who barely stopped talking to take a breath. Honestly, she exhausted me, but it was nice not having to think of things to talk about. Aunt Louise kept the conversation going and going and going. I waited for a rare silent moment and verbally jumped in to ask about her ghost photo.
Aunt Louise was thrilled that I asked and went to fetch the photo. I began mentally steeling myself to keep from laughing at what I assumed would be a ridiculous sight. Aunt Louise returned and explained her daughter took the photo and they believed the ghost was that of a recently deceased relative. When she handed me the Polaroid, I was seriously startled and expressed interest in a copy. Aunt Louise would later have a copy made for me, which I let my mom have for safe keeping.
(a photo of the photo that's a copy of the Polaroid)
When my sister, these many decades later, got out the copy of Aunt Louise's ghost photo, I was expecting my memory to not match the image, but it does. I recalled Aunt Louise sitting at a table with a phantasmagorical shape beside her. I remembered there was the impression of a head floating nearby and what appeared to be an arm or hand resting on her shoulder. I distinctly recalled the cigarette in her hand, but it appearing unlit. This fascinating photo continues to send my skeptical mind reeling. Is the apparition simply cigarette smoke swirling around? Did an error during the developing of the original Polaroid create the hazy image? Could the floating human shape actually be a ghost? I wasn't certain then and I still don't know.
Maybe that's why I call myself a skeptic. I'm neither a full blown believer nor a completely cynical denier. I fall somewhere in between. I have doubts, yet, I truly hope the monster (her name is Nessie) is cascading through the Loch, that Bigfoot (his name is Daryl) is stomping around the U.S. Northwest, that aliens are commuting to Earth for probing, in-depth research and that ghosts are hanging around watching us...well, except when we're naked.
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.
P.S. A different post about a different ghost...
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