EPISODE 22 — Apparition In The Chapel
Some people believe in such things as spirits or ghostly apparitions. Some think the whole ‘paranormal’ experience is a figment of an over-worked imagination. Sometimes it is only through an experience one has that causes a change of mind over the matter. CJ believes an open mind is an essential component when it comes to things that we cannot understand, feel, see, or sense. She says she has had several ‘ghostly’ encounters inside and outside of the funeral homes she’s worked at. I pooh-poohed the notion, until recently.
Very recently, as I was traversing the hallways, along the baseboards, late in the night when I had an experience of my own. Chester was on the prowl, looking for me, so I ducked into the chapel, squeezing through the gap in the doorjamb. I hurried to my place under the organ, so as to catch my breath before moving on. As I rested there, I SAW somebody kneeling at the prie dieu There was a woman dressed all in black, head to toe! I was frozen in my tracks at the sight. It was well past midnight and there were certainly no humans in the house, I knew that for sure. Well, not LIVING ones, anyway.
I could hear Chester scratching and pushing his paws at the swinging side door, behind the organ. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the lady I saw kneeling just several feet from where I hid. I stifled a scream as I saw her rise up off the kneeler and begin moving toward me. That is when I was aware that Chester was in the room, passing beside my hiding place. The woman halted, as if to allow Chester to walk in front of her. My heart was beating so hard and I was becoming light-headed, as I had forgotten to keep breathing; I had to keep my wits about me if I were to remain out of Chester’s reach. I was unsure if this was a dream or if I really was there in the moment…suddenly, Chester’s tail fuzzed up, and he was tracking something moving nearby, right in front of him! He spat and hissed and even swiped his front paw, claws exposed, at whatever the invisible annoyance was that he sensed. That is how I believe that what I saw was ‘there.’ Chester could see it, too!
Just then, the woman stepped onto Chester’s tail and he let out a yowl that sounded more like a screech; and then…she was gone. Just like a wisp of smoke, she had somehow dematerialized from view! Chester’s fur was electrified; in fact, I could see tiny static charges, like sparks dance off the ends of his guard hairs. He was still howling, with a most horrified expression on his cat-face. He ran like the wind, hiding beneath the lectern. It was most disturbing…I hardly moved the entire rest of the night, except to breathe. I am sure Chester slept with an eye open, in the creepy way cats do, if he slept at all.
Whatever it was, or whomever it was, I do know this much…I did not imagine its presence or movement. And, I was not alone. Chester saw it too. I sure as heck wasn’t going to let CJ know about this, however. I would never be able to live it down, especially after I dismissed her notions about spirits as nonsense.
It was not long after that encounter, when CJ and I happened upon the woman in the chapel, again. It was after an evening vigil and visitation. All the visitors had left, and CJ was going through the pews picking up Kleenexes and tidying up in the chapel. The man up front, in the casket, glowed in the soft rose lights that shone from the ceiling. CJ always closed the lid after visitation ended, to keep the deceased from getting dehydrated below the vent.However, before she did this, she suddenly remembered that she wanted to touch up the cosmetic on his lips, to ensure he was ready for morning service. CJ, with me in pocket, dashed down to the prep-room, to retrieve color and a brush.
On our return trip through the hall, we heard a loud T-H-U-M-P!!! It came from the chapel. CJ stopped, eyes wide, her heart racing. She was the only person in the whole place. The doors were locked. What was that thud? I crouched at the bottom of the pocket I rode within…I did NOT want to see whatever it was that made that sound!
Cautiously, she pushed the swinging door open a little, and peered into the chapel. As she did so, there was a sound of sw-o-o-o-sh, and a draft pass over us. It was as if someone had hurried right past us through that door. CJ gasped as she looked up at the casket to see the lid had fallen shut. That was the sound we’d heard. CJ said she was sure she’d seen a black crinoline draped figure pass her as it exited the chapel door. In an instant, CJ turned from the swinging door and left the casketed man to wait until morning…and wait until morning he would!
©2013, C.S. Thompson.