On Facebook yesterday, I saw a photo that a coworker’s friend took in the Circular Congregational Church graveyard. The picture includes what appears to be a bright white light hovering over a grave. It was probably a reflection of the camera’s flash on a small insect flying too close to the lens. That dull explanation didn’t stop people from having fun swapping ghost stories down in the comments.
As my super-patient husband can attest, I love a good ghost story. You might say that I have small paranormal documentary addiction problem. I’ve watched Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth, A Haunting, Celebrity Ghost Stories, and all those million crappy 30 minute Travel Channel jobs that tell you ghost stories about haunted hotels, restaurants, and B&B’s in an effort to get you to visit them on vacation.
The ghost stories I read yesterday reminded me of a strange thing that happened a few years ago.
My Grandad, John Holling, died suddenly in December 1999. We held his wake at Stuhrs’ on Calhoun Street downtown. As the last visitors began to say their goodbyes, the family decided to drive over the bridge to California Dreaming for a late dinner. I don’t get together with that side my of family often, so it was nice to spend time with all of them regardless of the sad circumstances.
Mom and I were seated across from each other at the end of the row of tables that had been pushed together to accommodate us. No one was sitting at the head of the table. I don’t even think there was a chair there. I had finished eating and was chatting with people seated to my right when I noticed something moving out the corner of my eye. One of my abandoned soda glasses was sliding across the table. I watched it move on it’s own power from my place setting to the edge of the table about three feet away. The glass slid right off of the table then hovered in midair for about 5 seconds before it crashed to the ground.
I looked at Mom. She looked at me.
“Did you see that?” I said.
“Uh huh,” she replied.
A chill went up my back. Maybe it was nothing, just gravity and exhaustion. A shared hallucination. Part of me, though, can’t help but believe that Grandaddy’s spirit traveled with us to California Dreaming because he wanted to have one last meal with his family. And well, maybe he just got thirsty.