Not Even Close, But Good Enough

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****A nice comment by The Orbis on the personage of the portrait. I should correct myself on the history as I believe Madame de Rimsky-Korsakov was aristocratic, but not of a royal bloodline. I believe she is included in the work of Tolstoy, as well. For the sake of time, I didn’t double-check my history. Thanks again to, The Orbis, for reminding me to address this correction. I never gave much thought to a more thorough treatment of the portrait itself since my focus was on the centrality of my folkish tale. Even though I have an interest in portraiture, I’m much more interested in applying statistical probability to the world around me. I extend my apologies to those more well-versed in their art history than am I. I will correct the closing line to reflect aristocracy and not royalty. Thanks sincerely. ****

After writing my blog entry, “In Memoriam,” The Orbis commented about how the tribute contained story elements. He thoughtfully pointed out that after I had visited my honorary grandmother at her haunted bed-and-breakfast on numerous occasions without encountering the slightest unusual event, wouldn’t it be a fitting end to an author’s take for Mimi to deliver a ghostly salute by bringing the arc to a close? Regrettably, such an occurrence did not happen, or has not happened, but maybe the second best thing did transpire.

Several weeks back, while visiting a nearby antique mall, I happened to notice the portrait that is pictured above. I am a member of the Portrait Society of America, so I am always looking at and evaluating portraits for what kind of impact they leave upon a viewer. Something struck me about this particular vignette, but I decided not to purchase it before leaving the facility.

Upon visiting the antique dealers on my next trip, I decided that I would purchase the image. However, the item was hung at a height where I was not able to easily reach it. Consequently, I had to assume the tips of my toes while also arching forward to clear a piece of furniture in front of me. While barely being able to get my fingertips around the bottom of the frame, as I raised the assemblage to rescue it from its hook, the hook moved along with the frame and I could not raise the portrait high enough to set it free. There was no one else around, the nearest store clerk was a half building away, and so I resigned myself to the fact that the image was not destined for residency in my portrait collection.

As I went back to the store a third time, I had not made a definite pact for making any concerted effort at purchasing the item. I didn’t even know if it would still be there. While walking past the booth that had housed the portrait, I noticed that it was still there in its same place atop the pegboarded wall. There also happened to be a kind lady standing in the same area as she was tending to paper work. She was obviously an antique dealer, so I approached her and asked her what was the best way for me to retrieve the portrait while following the antique mall’s safety rules? Without hesitation, she went into action and produced a small step ladder that had been concealed. The calling portrait was now becoming free of its elevated perch, and after calling to me on three different occasions, I was now going to become its new caretaker.

As the antique dealer and I continued to chat, she and I made an unexpected connection. She had gotten to attend the estate sale of Mimi’s wonderful home, Magnolia Manor. I had been highly disappointed that I had missed the sale, for I wanted at least one keepsake to always have as a memory from my stays spent at the home. As it turned out, the dealer had acquired three items from Magnolia Manor, and I now own one of the three.

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It can be seen on the price tags that after the dealer and I chatted, she was able to document that the items had provenance with Magnolia Manor.

Was this my message from beyond the grave from, Mimi? Did I get my storybook ending? Well, I’m afraid the mathematical odds are a little too modest in order for me to have received my miracle. The antique mall is only about a little over an hour away from Magnolia Manor. It is quite reasonable to expect the local dealers to attend the estate sale of such a wonderful property within such a close driving distance. And, I had always frequented the antique mall well before Mimi departed from this Earth. I’m afraid the numbers just don’t give indication that this chain of events was my communique from the beyond. The story does not get to end with its hoped for ending. Instead, the mathematical odds simply dictate an explanation.

But, nevertheless, the occurrence was encouraging, all the same. I now own a piece of Magnolia Manor when it was alive with life, both of the present and the formerly claimed varieties. The turn of sequences that led to the purchase simply add grace to the comfort that I always take in knowing, which is as long as I am alive, Mimi will still be, as well. My own heart will guarantee such a survival. Perhaps, where some magic did come into effect was that I owe the beckoning of a portrait of royalty for uniting me with the small reliquary from Magnolia Manor. Now, you have something of more mathematical consequence to consider,…

…for regal princesses do not with any frequency call to me at once, much less thrice.

BT

22 thoughts on “Not Even Close, But Good Enough

  1. Blaine, a fascinating, spellbinding and chilling ‘portrait’ of what lurks in dark shadows… absolutely riveting. As riveting as a ghostly encounter when one least expects it; a writing of the highest caliber with regards to the supernatural!

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    1. Thanks, Lance! I have you to thank for my deciding to turn these words into a separate blog entry over being written in a comments section. I will let the readers decide if there is more to the story than meets the eye. Off to prepare for the next work day! G’night!

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      1. My pleasure, Blaine. Much better as a post where it’ll be seen by your readers. I believe so- very much an eye opener, my friend! Goodnight to you as well. And, my deepest gratitude for your dedication in reading my posts from ‘back in the day’.

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      2. The gain in doing so is to pay further tribute more than it has to do with any ideas I wrote into the tribute itself. I’m still glad you steered me in the direction of turning it into a follow-up tribute. I wound up writing it overdramatically. It may be read to be making one point when I was making another. All the same, part of the fun is giving the reader their room to interpret. And, it’s always my pleasure to go back and read your prior works. My only regret is that I think I have about caught up to all of your older posts. That means I can’t wait to read your upcoming works!

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      3. Blaine, we should always write for others interpretations, not for ours. Thank you once again- looking forward to reading your new ghostly stories !

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      4. It’s always good to get a reminder from someone who knows. 😀 I’m sure the interpretations are usually much better than what I had intended to convey. 😀

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      5. That’s the way interpretations should work… and, you’re quite adept at doing so!

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      6. What little time I’ve worked in the corporate world, I quickly learned that good things happen when you turn things over to the collective. Individual talents will shine. Add those individual talents together in their operation and you get summational progress. A group can take a single idea and make it much better after it goes through the collaborational process.

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      7. So very true, Blaine. Individual talents will only shine collectively, not independently. Progress comes through teamwork- corporations will give them a pat on the back, as well as themselves. It’s much like a relay race where the baton (the idea) is passed from one individual to another. The one who crosses the finish line is the chairman of the board. The ones who applaud are the stockholders. Then and only then will the corporation grow.

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Your poetry, by the way, is wonderful! Even though I overwrote this entry, it was fun to do so for the sake of adding some sentimentality. Thank you so very kindly for reading. 😀

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      1. Thank you so much 😊. And yes, it does add sentimentality and connects the readers with your emotions and thoughts. It’s as if we live the moment with you.

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      2. Wow, thanks for that compliment. Even though that is the intent, I think I’m usually missing that mark. I’ll try to do better. 😀

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  2. Often the most keenly observant can struggle to see the hidden 3-dimensional projections within the visual illusions of an autostereogram. The more they concentrate on what IS in front of them, the harder it is for them to see through the details that obscure the hidden image. Those that see the hidden image with ease, usually cross their eyes, lean in close to the picture and as they move away from it, and lose focus, that’s when they see it. However, most essentially, they are determined that they WILL see something and it only becomes easier the more autostereograms they decipher (considering anyone even remembers them anymore, haven’t seen a MAGIC EYE image since the 90s).

    The protagonist, the ‘rational seeker’, the skeptic knows that a chapter is ending, but the story isn’t over. A message from the grave, who knows, maybe a message from a future self. The not-so-rational seeker knows while he may look foolish as he crosses his eyes and stares inches from an autostereogram, that is the only way his eyes can reveal what others cannot see. Would the protagonist at the start of the story entertain the concept of synchronicity ever implicating his own life? Once a skeptic believes he has breadcrumbs to follow, he isn’t much of a skeptic anymore. The safety-line of rationality, logical skepticism will keep someone safe from falling, but the rope is just too short to allow them to peer over the edge.

    As someone watching from the sideline on the other side of the world, my advice is stay the course. This was an interesting event, but keep looking for signs. If you have the time and resources, you could take one of the items from the manor to a psychic and see if they stumble onto anything relevant. Strangely, despite how most of us feel about free will, synchronicity seems to be linked with decisions we make. The more choices you make actively pursuing this, the higher the odds synchronicity will continue to occur (at least in my experience).

    Perhaps Madame Barbe de Rimsky Korsakov beckoned you three times for more than the purchasing of sentimental memorabilia.

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    1. A very thoughtful and eloquent commentary that you have added! You’ve actually captured what some might assume to be a theme based on a cumulative history of my blog. Has my stereoscopic vision been impaired by skepticism? When, in the name of fairness, I have acknowledged oddity, or trucefully admitted temporary suspension of hardline logic in order to have a little momentary fun, have I compromised my own investigative values? Thankfully, for the sake of responsibility, I can say that there has never been any crisis or indecision at play. Instead, I have tried to adhere to an objective skepticism and merely include teaching points. I think it’s more fun to encode lessons of learning than it is to type in a more textbook fashion. I guess part of my approach has been to try and allow the reader to step into the shoes of investigator and take the journey themselves. What are the sensory perceptions while evaluating a haunted home, or what associations are made, and are those associations actually legitimate? Did my Christmas Story prove the existence of ghosts? Not in the least. Rather, as you point out, in certain instances we may have to step back for a moment of analysis, but we should not, ‘create,’ our own synchronicity. The message intended is to take the data that is given, but do not add to it, plus or minus. Wait for the additional data that will inevitably come, and in my current station, it has. Was my Christmas Story an errant following of a breadcrumb trail in my reaction? It wasn’t. Rather, it was a moment that life gave as a grin and as a bolstering to see things through, even when the conventional cart was temporarily knocked over. And, such occurrences can become a reminder of how to some of us, synchronicity more necessarily leads to discussions about confirmation biases and coincidences. However, most importantly for me, the concept can sometimes quickly become a fallible way of ignoring the fact that statistics may still have something to say and still contain a more likely explanation. I’m ok with the rope remaining a bit too short if what is over the wall is something that has been portrayed virtually ahead of data instead of giving representation to data confirmed actuality. I don’t want to reach the promised land unless the data already have the most actual depiction locked in as the rope comes to an end. These observations are probably why I will never be written in as the protagonist of this, or any other, story. 😀 I will probably always be considered too much of the stubborned killjoy. But, your comments are truly right on time (speaking of synchronicity). Over the last couple of days I have had a couple of more pieces of the proverbial puzzle fall into place. I totally believe in the field methods I have learned, more than ever. Sometimes these methods demand patience, but in the end, they give a more realistic appraisal over an accommodated one. I absolutely revere the process, and it justifies why I ever tried to go into the field in the first place. And, you are right. Psychometry would be another avenue whereby I could throw in another little test just to see what happened. Although, I will most likely never do so, because I’m probably too close to the subject matter, in this case. I’m content to leave Mimi to rest in her peace, just as I have been with my grandparents, whose longsuffering departures from the world were the reasons my own mind began to wander in a philosophical direction in the first place (even though I always preferred science to philosophy.) Science can elucidate on how suffering occurs physiologically, mentally, emotionally, but we have to step onto another playing field in order to grapple with making sense of these challenges. But, investigatively speaking, I’ve seen another layer of the onion peeled back in the game of ghosts, and my own understanding has been deepened, which simply happens each time one takes a case on its own individual characteristics. Such resultation is why I have an appreciation for the scientific process, and it reveals why it is so important to get a more complex case under one’s belt over elementary open and shut case ones. The scientific investigator pushes for and observes for data. That additional data makes all the difference between pronouncing the existence of ghosts in evidentiary form and simply framing a case in a more fully coherent understood form. And, thank you again for making me think to fact check the portrait. I should have done so from the beginning, and I apologize for making such an error in the name of haste. I really appreciate your thoughtful response. Wonderful mental imagery you have used to illustrate your points, and to enlighten us all about a protagonist as his journey is continued.

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      1. No apology necessary, I only learned the presumed identity of the woman in the painting after a reverse google image search. I was hoping to discover something about the woman or the artist that would somehow further connect that specific portrait, or the desire to purchase it, to your story/experience. But nothing really stood out to me.

        It is puzzling though, if you’re more concerned with the science and the data. With no tangible, scientific proof to suggest that ghosts have ever existed, why pursue the search? Countless fruitless searches taking place all over the world. Arguably, the people could be looking for any kind of magical mysterious creatures and essentially failing all the same? Nothing has come along to convince the masses (including alleged EVP, photographs, video footage, etc). Often only those that experience it, in the moment, are adamant believers, usually throughout the entirety of their lives. It’s like banking on a footprint to prove the existence of a creature that has never been seen. Without stopping to think the footprint itself was the product of something far less mysterious.

        Can something exist, only if it can be proven as such? Is it possible that even memories you believe to be real might not have actually occurred? If you have no reason to doubt something is false, you believe it to be real, until given a reason to believe otherwise.

        If you could learn the truth, the absolute truth, about anything/everything, but it came at the cost of everyone on earth thinking that you’re insane and wrong. Would you still want to know?

        Rarely the protagonist at the start of the book is the same person by the end. It would only take one fateful event/experience to drastically change the current protagonist. Time will tell whether or not said event unfolds.

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      2. Fantastic question. 😀 I will reply back as soon as I have time.

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      3. In fact, this question is so good, I will devote a new blog entry to its answer as soon as I can. The question is fundamental, and the answer, paramount.

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      4. I am genuinely interested in hearing your introspective thoughts on this and what you would be willing to lose to learn the truth. If there’s time and you’re willing to go down the route, I’d also be interested to know where you stand in regards to aspects of the paranormal and your current research/investigations – what and to what degree you “believe” (or doubt) at the moment? (I sometimes struggle answering this question to myself.)

        Making an extremely personal line of questioning even more personal. It can be a difficult thing to really clearly assess, “what do I truly believe?”

        If there is a lack of belief, or even a total absence of reason to believe, then the question is, what is the drive to continue the search?

        I guess an overarching concept I should throw into this melting pot of contemplation, is if science is systematic knowledge grounded in the physical/material world, would science be fundamental in theoretically disproving the validity of reality (if it ever came under legitimate scrutiny)? Or would it, by its very nature (bound to the measurable reality around us), become redundant toward the cause?

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      5. All marvelous questions! You’ve really covered why my blog even ever came to exist. These are all the questions that are at play. My schedule just intensified so I have less time to write now. But, I will try to start composing an address to these questions. Please bear with me on my slow turnaround. Again, all wonderful points that you make! Talk soon.

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  3. WOW! Okay that is a GREAT tale. Talk about serendipity or….I’m not sure I’m using the right word but that is fate. Major fate! I got chills!

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    1. Thanks so much for those comments, Courtney! 😀 Regardless of what, if any, extra significance a person would apply to this telling (and, I don’t add any myself), it was a humbling experience all the same. 😀 It was a way to get to say goodbye to, Mimi. The statistics of the matter make the event superfluous in a discussion over assigned meaning, but where the real meaning came in was being united with some keepsakes from Magnolia Manor. 😀 I guess it’s nice to find wonder in the world, even if we have to help it out, sometimes. 😀 I’m certainly not against that wonder. I’m simply trying to find it. 😀

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