Photo courtesy of Stacey Humphreys, Jimmy Smith, and Janna Gordon
Yesterday, I sat in the office pictured above. The vantage point of the photo is approximate to the one that I held. I sat in the area where the chair is seen in the foreground. There, I had the great privilege of getting to sit and briefly chat with a friend whom I will forever regard as family. The room we sat and chatted in is part of a house that is known to be notoriously haunted. The sentiments in this blog entry were actually birthed a few weeks back, but after sitting and having the visit that occurred in this room yesterday, the compulsory obligation to further wrangle my thoughts became more convicting. That visit, along with events of today, became capstones for an already amazing set of a previous few days.
Days ago I sat in the annex of a church. The campus, a place where callings are contemplated, alms are raised, and besought wisdom transpires, gave appropriate setting to the mindset from which I ruminated. Reflection about purpose and individual identity lingered in the air. While sitting and looking at the walls, I could not help but interrogate life and its absurdity in the case of my own aspirations and expended ideals.
Where I had aimed to be at this juncture on my own personal timeline, and where I actually reside now on this timeline, are two entirely juxtaposed matters. If I were to be asked where I had planned to be at this stage of life, I would tell you that I would love to be flying high performance aircraft of some type, while at the same time holding multiple degrees in science. Instead, not only have I spent the last several months wading through the philosophical appraisal of how to communicate worth where it is due, but much more bizarrely, I have actually found myself getting inside the mind of a, “ghost.” While sitting and staring at the walls of a structure where cosmic place is wondered, I could not help but disgustedly think about the role in the universe I currently fill. Quite literally, my existence, at least for now, has been relegated to tracking the every move of a certain, “ghost,” while also trying to catch it in the act. Regardless of whether we consider the ghost from the skeptic’s point of view and consider it to be expediently nullified by the addition of missing knowledge, or if we are referring to the ghost from the believer’s point of view as an actual revenant, there’s a competition at hand. Has anyone asked me to take on this challenge? No, this interrogative has never been brought and set in front of me. But, my own thirst for knowing bids me the current station that I hold. Self-authorship is responsible for this life story, and no blame lies anywhere but with me.
This evening I got to listen to Courtney Mroch’s interview with Steve Shippy, host of the Travel Channel’s series, “Haunting in the Heartland.” Through Courtney’s wonderful courtesy, I got to indirectly enjoy hearing her glean information about what to expect in the upcoming series. Her generous inclusion made me think back to that day of the not too distant past while looking at my surrounding walls. The interview helped to remind me, that whatever the value one assigns, this odd definition of ghost illuminator is the one that my life currently sustains. Ghost hunters go in fervent search of ghosts with believing assurance and technology. I also go to observe with the same sense of urgency, but my toolbag more involves a conglomeration of ideas from Xenophanes, Pyrrho, Socrates, scientists, magicians, and polymaths who encourage awareness and applied thought. Had I never taken the concept of ghosts to heart, professionally and academically I might have had more flight time underneath my belt by now, as well as more coursework, but I’m not sure if I would have the same kind of education that I have now.
Do callings always come at a cost, yet with an unanticipated gain? Such a formula does seem to sound accurate in my estimation. And, did I just use the word, “calling,” in application to myself? For a guy to sit and wonder how in the world he came to a point where he is playing cards with a ghost, there may be few other options for a labeled attribution. For some reason, a ghost that will be featured on Steve Shippy’s new show, consumes a great portion of my thought processes each day. I wholeheartedly believe answers are there to be found about my otherworldly nemesis. But, the answers must not be assumed; they must be derived.
As I look back on the journey, it has been quite a wonderful ride. While listening to Courtney’s interview, I could not help but feel a slight grin warmly spread within my heart. After a lot of years worth of battles, book time, lost sleep, and taxation on ambition and dedication, it was confirmed tonight that the road less traveled has been wonderful in the lessons that it has taught me. The road, for me, is traveled for an all encompassing reason, which is to simply get at the sole truth. It may seem to be the height of illogicality to have put myself in this situation, but appearances can be deceiving. Science can be applied in diverse ways. I firmly believe that science needs to be applied in this instance; in my instance. If for no one else, I choose to settle the matter for myself.
During that fun chat session that occurred in the office yesterday, I was asked what my long term goals are at this point? In reply, I told my honorary brother that I may as well speak straightforwardly as if we were hanging out in the barracks or the locker room. I conceded that at this point, the long term goals are most likely no longer attainable. The tides of time and life inducing insult have probably brought restriction to the notion.
There is no doubt that I now stand in the crosshairs of all questions that may be asked from rational grounding. Scientists are free to criticize me for thinking about science, but not knowing enough of it. Magicians can fault me for learning aspects of magic, but not being well versed enough when speaking practically. Philosophers may certainly criticize me for being logically lazy. Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists can recommend my furthering a base of referential knowledge. Although I am willing to work on these deficiencies and always anticipate doing as much, I understand that I undertake the mission before me as a lone practitioner. But, any path worth traveling is worth navigating in a solitary fashion if required.
I am extremely grateful to have geared my way down this road. Where other tallies of importance have fallen to the side, the ultimate reward has come through encroachment upon the final destination of getting answers about ghosts, once and for all. Courtney, I sincerely thank you for having allowed me to share in the search. Your generosity has certainly meant more to me than can be turned into lacking words. To Matt, thanks again for not only encouraging the writing practice, but the spirit that goes behind it, as well. Ghosts and writing seem to go hand-in-hand. Jan, thank you for sharing your voluminous library and opinions about all things ghosts. Lance, I sincerely appreciate you having shared the ghost story that your family came to inherit. To Alan, Parneet, and, “Orbis,” I thank you for putting in the effort that you do with your thought and in how you arrive at your conclusions about paranormal matters. Taylor, thanks for reminding me what it means to have insight, a trait that is invaluable in any endeavor; ghosts, or otherwise. And, there are others of you who have dropped by and given of your time to read this blog. I may not have gotten to carry on dialogue with you, thus far, but your support is valued ALL THE SAME. I’m truly thrilled to have embarked upon this adventure, and you have all aided in making such a project worthwhile.
Despite having shaken my head on various occasions when asking myself what on earth I have been doing in regard to ghost chasing, I still remember the vigor involved in my past while driving a highway to get to the next purportedly haunted property. There was always the eager anticipation of applying thought to an environment in the task of explaining it most correctly. Over the years, these trips have now added themselves together to equal themselves in the culmination of this evening.
After getting to briefly correspond with Story Musgrave earlier in the week, I can appreciate his words of encouragement all the more now. There must be a healthy appreciation for the forks in the road that unexpectedly occur. Sometimes, they are the universe’s way of course correction. Evidently, I was meant to travel this road of dancing a mental waltz with ghosts, all in the midst of the conflict of proving one or the other as real or not real. According to some of the groups I have referenced above, some in their ranks would say, I, am the one who is not real. But, I did come to a fork in the road, and my life has been made richer for choosing the route that I have. The road may be laden with the strange, and it may indeed leave one sitting and looking in confusion at walls erected to the divine. Before, I discouraged anything to do with the notion of a ghost. Now, after having traversed a path lined with scientific and philosophical enlightenment, this beneficial learning came as a result of asking the ghost question. Perhaps I owe the ghosts, whether real or virtual, and I should no doubt thank them for….
the very strange in life that leads to the escalating steps of a scientific heaven and its knowledge imparting highness.