Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Plants and Hauntings

The idea of combining plants with hauntings probably seems like combining cows and marshmallows. Complete non sequitur, right? Here's the thing, though. Plants, as innocuous as they may seem, probably have a lot more going on for them than people realize. 

For one thing, some plants will kill others that are competing for the same space. If you don't believe me, try googling "can a plant kill another plant?" and see what pops up. Plants are not quite as passive as they may seem. 

That said, some years ago, I read an article about a man who planted a tree for each member of his family. The idea of everyone having his or her own designated tree sounds peaceful and green and just pleasant, doesn't it? Until one of the trees died. Shortly after, the family member who owned that tree also died. The man who did the original planting might have thought it was a coincidence, until it happened again. It had happened at least three times when the article went to press, and the man and the remainder of his family looked at the trees still standing with quite a bit of uneasiness. If it really was all a coincidence, what a nasty one.

On the other hand, if plants are sentient enough to kill each other, can they pick up a communicative link with humans? Even when I was in high school, which was roughly about the time that the plague hit Europe, botanists were already studying the effects of things like music or people's moods (encouraging or angry) on plants and were surprised to find that our floral friends seem to be aware of different kinds of atmospheres, and not just those having to do with weather. 

So here are two little, little, tiny stories on how plants have connected with hauntings in my personal life.

1. When I was in eighth grade, my paternal grandfather passed away in the Philippines. I was too young to have very many memories of him, even though he did come to visit us here in the States, but my older siblings had more time with him on his visits and remember outings and other activities. One morning, my sister and I were up in our bedroom, making our beds and getting ready for the day. We each had a window, and we each would put up the shade as soon as our beds were made. My sister put up her shade and was startled when the plant on her window sill, an African violet, leaped out at her. I asked her if it had gotten caught in the shade's material, but she said no, she had already finished when the plant pretty much jumped out of the pot. It refused to be re-potted and would have become just another dead plant except that it was one given to my sister by our grandfather. It was shortly after that incident that we learned he had died. Guess he wanted to say goodbye to my sis.

2.  I used to watch ghost story movies on TV (see last week's blog for my current thoughts on this.) One night when my husband was out of town, my daughters and I were huddled on the couch watching "Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive" which was a made for TV movie that starred Patty Duke. I don't mind admitting that it was a fairly creepy flick and that we were getting a bit freaked-out by it. And then the jade plant on the counter above the TV stand jumped out of its pot and landed about a foot away from its former home. Of course, this corresponded with one of the scariest scenes in the movie and all three of us jumped about as far as the plant. I have no idea -still don't- what would make a jade plant actually leap out of its pot but there it is. I haven't had a jade plant since. I have also never had another plant take a flying leap.

As I said, very small, tiny stories that fall into the "I can't explain that so I'm gonna ignore it" category. Still, I would say we should be mindful of our plants. Be mindful of our trees. I think there's more going on with those quiet green guys than we suspect.

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