Across the Great Divide

The Ghosts beneath the Mistletoe

The days are increasingly shorter, the air chills to the bone, and nature slumbers beneath a blanket of sparkling snow. This is the time of year when we gather with friends and family to talk, share life’s adventures, and relive the year’s memorable moments. If you’re like many folks, you’re also gathered around a television to enjoy classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and Dickens’ immortal A Christmas Carol.

But take a step back and look at these holiday classics through the lens of a seasoned investigator and you’ll begin to see them in an entirely new light. It is, after all, a fairly spooky ghost story wrapped around the morals of giving and sharing.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are similar to the phenomenon of “Anniversary Imprints,” residual hauntings resulting from an emotional, physical, or electrical discharge that “records” an event into the atmosphere of a particular location and which usually manifest around the same time each year.  Such imprints can appear non-conscious and redundant, but since the Spirits were highly interactive with Scrooge, it appears Dickens melded different aspects of the Spiritualist philosophies which were commonplace in the London of his day.

The arrival of Bob Marley on the first anniversary of his death fits the definition of a Revenant. These entities project an appearance of being distressed or misplaced; often a recently departed person who returns very briefly to make contact with loved ones to serve as an act of closure before going on to the afterlife. Perhaps the more appropriate classification for poor Marley is the Guardian, a spirit who returns to warn family members of imminent danger. These entities offer messages or aid during moments of distress to others.

The Ghost of Christmas Future is clearly a Harbinger, a ghost that brings warning of impending events.

Aside from the various spiritual entities throughout the story, some other cornerstones of psychical research play a large role in the adventure. For instance, Scrooge’s journeys are what we refer to as Astral Projection, or Astral Travel. Astral Travel is the theory that a person’s spiritual awareness can temporarily detach itself from the physical body, remaining connected by what is called the “silver cord,” and experience things in other locations, time frames, or dimensional planes; the spiritual body and the physical body are then able to act independently of each other. That is why Scrooge travels through time and space but must return to his bedchamber to await the next spirit- and all within a single night.

But this is all, of course, fiction; so what sort of real-world personal experiences provide similar events? Here are but a few anecdotes that I will share with you.

The Winter Solstice also brings with it a recurring event to residents of Lower Boscaswell (Cornwall). A lady in white holds a red rose in her mouth, then turns and walks into fog. Some say that to see her will bring misfortune.

On Christmas Eve in Kempston (Bedfordshire), England, local legend tells of a child that ran out of Kempston manor to greet his parents who were returning in a horse-drawn coach. He was hit by the horses and died of his injuries. Now, the anniversary of the event is marked by the reoccurring sounds of the tragic incident.

A man’s mother passed away in 1964; that same year he moved from Nova Scotia to Ontario. Christmas Eve, 1971; on the tree, one string of lights, which was supposed to flash, had stopped several days before. According to the witness it was five minutes to midnight when the fireplace suddenly went out, and the string of lights started to flash, and the other lights stopped flashing. He reported the room becoming very chilly when a figure appeared in the recliner- his mother, with a smile on her face. His wife, who had never met her, reported the same thing. It never spoke but at the stroke of midnight the fireplace lit up and the lights on the tree stopped flashing and the others started flashing again. The figure was gone and the lights on the tree never flashed again.

A woman received a call from beyond one Christmas. The phone rang and upon answering it, a familiar voice casually said, “Hello there.” It was her mother’s voice, who had dies three years prior. The line had static noise and it cut in and out.

Lewisham Station, London is the place of a crash in December 1957, caused by fog, that killed ninety people and injured over one hundred. Their cries can be heard on the anniversary of the accident.

So as you take in the many feasts this holiday season and enjoy the company of loved ones, take a moment to reflect on those dear departed and raise a glass in their honor- they just may be celebrating along side you and your kinfolk.

So, dear readers, any experiences of your own you’d like to share?

**I would like to take this moment to thank you all for following along each month as I explore the paranormal. I extend to you- whatever your faith or tradition- a warm blessing for a year well-spent, and a new year well planned. Happy Holidays, best wishes, and see you on New Years Day.

© 2011 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions