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Paranormal Roots

Oldest picture of the Vermont house, before addition of the garage and enclosed porch.

For the past fifteen years, I’ve been creating a ghost tour.  It began with hours of research, sorting through molding records and glowing microfiche that strained my eyes.  But I could also say that it started thirty-eight years ago, on a little mountain in rural Vermont.  Ghosties, welcome to my paranormal roots.

The sunlight filters through the car.  Golden ribbons of light reach toward me and I am entranced for a moment.  My vision blurs and I refocus, just as I see him.  The man.  He is a man, I know this, but I don’t know him.  I can’t make out the distinctions of his features, but he is looking at me, alone in the car with me.  He isn’t exactly in a seat, but he isn’t exactly not in the seat.  It is almost like he is part of the seat.  He has a hat on his head.  Where is my family?  My breath catches, collects in my lungs, and bursts out in a scream for my mom.

I was not quite two years old that day.  I remember it, I have always remembered it.  It was the day we moved to Vermont; my parents, maternal grandparents, and older sister.  My sister and I thought that our house was Vermont, that our eight acres on that forested mountain comprised all of Vermont.  Our Vermont consisted of a dilapidated farmhouse and slightly less dilapidated barn, a ruddy red color that stood across the dirt road. Our little family was insulated in the world of our Vermont, away from the world, away from the view of other houses.  Away.

That day is just that moment in my mind, nothing more and nothing less. I’ve heard my mother’s version countless times.  She and my dad arrived.  The car, a green Rabbit hatchback, was filled.  I was sleeping upon arrival, so it was easier to unload my sister and our armloads of things, then come back and get me.  She recalls that I was asleep when she returned to the car, peaceful, and she snapped a picture, something she did many times that day, documenting this new chapter of our lives.  As the Polaroid developed, she felt disappointment in the poor quality of the image.  There were balls of light circling around my body, obscuring my sleeping face.

From my deep sleep, she watched as I awoke, took in the scene, and began to cry.  She assumed I was upset to awaken alone in the car, unaware that I was upset to wake up in a stranger’s company.  At age two, my ability to communicate my experience was limited, but it seared itself into my mind, memory, and being.  It was the first step in a journey that would change our family’s history.

Our memories of the same moment have differences.  It was the first time that the house would form bubbles of time around the residents, where moments overlapped and intersected at odd angles.  It would not be the last.

Vermont was clean, it was fresh, and it has colored the rest of my life.  As we work through these memories, sweet Ghosties, you’ll get a little glimpse into my paranormal origins, and we’ll move forward in time to share the spirits that continue to move me.

Welcome and thank you for joining me.