A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Ghost stories. We’ve all heard them, maybe even shared one or two of them ourselves. Interestingly enough, ghosts and goblins are very popular among tourists. It seems that every major city has it’s share of spirits haunting peculiar spots around town. But nobody believes in ghosts, really. Right? We just listen to the stories for the entertainment value, don’t we?
Well, maybe the draw we feel towards the supernatural is an unconscious attraction to something we feel instinctively but can’t explain. There are certainly place on this world that have raised my hackles, so to speak. Where the unexplainable suddenly rears up and stretches the mind to those new dimensions. How do explain for example, this event that we experienced this year…
Everybody knows that castles are haunted. But we don’t really believe it, do we? In fact, people will pay good money to stay in a haunted castle overnight. Well, that’s never been our thing, it’s fun to hear the stories and get some colorful history of the characters that once lived in the place, but we never really believed those same figures from the past were now spirits, endlessly roaming the earth. Until now.
We were traveling through Sweden, making our way from Malmo to Stockholm and seeing the sights along the way. One of the most popular castles along the route is the seaside castle of Kalmar Slott. This imposing, yet beautiful 17th century royal residence was built upon an even older 12th century site and has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Oh, and by the way, it’s haunted (although no one will tell you that, oddly enough).
Corinne, Erika and I had entered the castle together but had split up at some point and ended up exploring the various rooms and towers on our own. We would come across each other at various times but since we tend to meander our way through these places at our own pace we never really stayed together.
I was in a dark tower room, reading about astronomy and astrology in the middle ages when I heard someone enter the room from the doorway directly behind me. Corinne had just left the room so I just assumed it was Erika. I kept reading while also noting that the newcomer was walking up stealthily behind. I could hear the rustle of clothes and the careful placement of feet upon the stone floor. Both my girls loved to play this sneakup on dad game when they were younger, so I just played along, sure it was Erika now breathing lightly just behind me. I turned slowly to giver her a chance to keep playing, and sure enough I could here the swish of clothing and the shuffling of her feet as she quickly turned with me. Ha, I knew the next move to catch her!
I immediately surged two steps forward and spun on my heels as the “Gotcha” stuck half way in my throat. There was no one there! In fact, the dimly lit room was completely empty. I even poked my nose behind the curtains at the window and around the back of the display I had been reading. No one, but I won’t say not a soul. Someone had been in that room with me, even though I can’t explain it.
I related the story to Corinne and Erika (who had been sitting out in the courtyard at the time) and we all agreed it was pretty chilling even though it had been a playful kind of experience. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I’m not sure I can still say there’s no such thing as ghosts! Oliver Wendell Holmes, my mind has been stretched. Now. isn’t that one of the main reasons we travel?
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