Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886934412

From: Burnside< >
Subject: Re: re Second Sight
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 1998 05:40:12 -0500

Hi Linda

You wrote:

>Lemme see.. my Scots grannie, though very religious, was psychic. I recall
her talking about the experience of seeing my grandfather after his death.

It reminds me of reading that upon J.R.R.Tolkien's death his friend
C.S.Lewis saw him (Tolkien) standing at the foot of
his bed at the very hour of his death.I don't know why Lewis, obviously a
Christian man, would have made up such a story.
Also, apparently, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died
on the same day and although they were half a continent apart, Adams, on his
sickbed, knew it when Jefferson died.

I have read that Appalachian folks, when one was about to die, they would
pick them off the bed and lay them on the floor or ground. Presumably so
they were nearer the earth. I wonder if this has to do with their beliefs as
to the course of the soul at death? Of course, I have also read, (perhaps in
a Welsh context) of openning doors or windows at death to allow the soul out
of the house. Probably just groping at the mystery.
My wife was present and awake the night her mother died at home after a long
battle with cancer. She said that she felt as though her mother was still
present in the room for some hours after she physically died, then, it was
as though she were gone. She said it was a peaceful and beautiful thing.
You wrote:

>It was difficult>in the family to keep trace of who was dead and who was
alive, because>the dead were talked about so much and were so present...My
sister has had ancestors appear in dreams and tell her....

Wow. We didn't have any of this in my kin. The closest would be the Watsons,
ie my mothers mother. My grandmother was one of six girls and one boy. When
these kids were young the family moved into a haunted house and the whole
family, including their minister on one occassion, saw this ghost, that of
the little Campbell girl who died after falling down the staircase. These
women were permanently affected by this thing. One aunt died old and alone
while dealing out cards
on an oija board. Another,when old, saw strange things which she attributed
to her house being built over an Indian burial ground. The others would talk
about the Campbell ghost but not my grandmother. She was strictly normal and
practically lived at the Congregational church. She would get very agitated
whenever I would ask about this childhood episode--which lends considerable
weight to the story. I still get the shivers when I recall those
stories..even though the ghost was benign.

Of course here we touch on a mystery. I have read of Celts planting trees
around tombs and believing you could hear ancestors voices in the wind
through their tops. I think
the Turks also planted trees over the graves of their loved ones. Theres
also the belief that if one spends the night
atop a burial mound one will go mad or become a poet or at least see a
strange sight or perhaps be struck. One remembers the king in the Mabinogion
who spent the night atop a tomb and saw Rhiannon riding by on her white
mare, pursued but could never catch the "Great Queen". Perhaps this goes
back to the days when prophetesses would sleep in tombs and the ancestors
would speak to them in their dreams. For Celts, of whatever nationality, the
veil between the worlds was thin indeed.

I don't know that I actually believe in any of this stuff.
Periodically I go alone to the country cemetary where my father's family is,
from my g-g-grandfather on. It is a peaceful and beautiful spot on a small
wooded bluff over a slow moving river. All around are what were once their
farms through the generations. So, its not difficult to feel close to them
there as the stories of them all and the history of the place drifts through
the mind. All that I've gained from such visits is a certain peace about my
own mortality and dissolution. No research break-throughs I'm affraid.

Several times I've dreamed about being at my grandparents
dining room table back in the 30's (30 years before my birth). My grandad
and two great aunts, who died before I was born, are there and showing me
family photos that don't exist and telling me stories that I remember as
being new but which I don't remember after waking. But, clearly, this is
just born of spending so much time in genealogy and family history and
desiring to learn things that are probably gone forever.

I don't know how I would react if old Rube came to me in some more
significant way. I would probably freak and try to wake myself up a.s.a.p. A
couple years ago my Dad had bipass surgery and in intensive care, (on some
serious drugs)
he would look right at me and talk to me as though he were
the kid he was and I was his father. He relived scenes from his childhood,
asking me about certain animals they had and about his chores etc. Thats
about as freaky as I care to get.


This thread: