I was watching an episode of The Dead Files, one of my favorite shows, and medium Amy Allen made a statement that freaked me out on two different levels. She said that most of the time, ghosts appear to her like normal, solid people, and that when she saw them as "shadow people," that meant something negative and bad.
Okay, that's a two-part sentence, so you can probably see how that would be disturbing in two different ways. Let's take the second , and more obviously bothersome part, first. "Shadow people" mean something negative and bad to her. Oy. I have never seen a ghost and I am glad this is a statement of fact. I have also never seen shadow people, and even gladder of that truth. Shadow people pop up in ghost stories all over the place. If you watch enough paranormal reality TV, shadow people are everywhere. And if all of them mean something not so good, that hits me as, well, problematic. They have been spotted in hotels, hospitals, residences, dormitories, museums - the list is endless and kind of makes me leery about going anywhere at all. (Only because, thank God, I have never seen a shadow person in my own house.) But what if one turns up? That's enough to give me a huge pause.
The first part of her statement, though, is intriguing to me. If she sees most dead people, or spirits, as solid, well, then, how does she know she's seeing someone dead? What's the tip-off? I could imagine some of it would be period dress. Some of it must be context: if she knows she's in a haunted place and that she is the only one there (besides her cameramen) then obviously the person or people she is seeing is/are spirit. But they look solid.
And that brings me to my grandson. When he told me that the former owners of our house were dead, I realized that he MUST have seen them. I think they probably came back to check out the room renovations we were doing to their much-loved former home, and ran smack-dab into my little guy, who can see them. But he knew they were dead, too. Did they tell him? When I asked him how he knew, he kind of glanced away from me and said "I just know."
He knows. Amy Allen knows. Would I know? If I walked past a dead person on the street, would I even be aware of it? If they look like solid people? Do all of us, especially those of us in urban areas, walk past scads of dead people on any given day and not even realize it? If my grandson and I spotted the same dead person at the same time, would he know that person was dead even though I didn't?
I am fascinated, as is obvious, by the paranormal. I write about it. I read about it. I watch it on TV. I am probably obsessed with it. But despite all of this, there is still so much I don't know and that I wonder about. Maybe one of these days I'll meet a medium and I can ask questions like that. (Actually, I know a few sensitives, but we've never discussed this. I probably should broach the subject somehow, although bringing it up when we've met for lunch seems a bit awkward. "Hey, how's it going? How's the new job? Say, how can you tell that someone you're looking at is dead?")
If you read my work -and I sure hope you do! Shameless plug- you may see me play with this idea in the future. The concept of ghosts that look like living people. Michael Penfield sees them as transparent, for the most part, although he says at one point that dead people get "back-lit something awful" by a movie screen, so maybe not always. It's something to consider, though. I'll put it to him and see what he and Cassie think about it all. It will be interesting to get their take...