I KNOW Shirley Maclaine would approve.
Approve? Approve what, I hear?
Sit back, relax and if it's not a dark and stormy night, skip this post and come back when it is.
Light a candle. Scrunch down under your covers. And hope you don't feel a chill breath on your shoulder.
In recent years, contrary to my religion's paradoxical stand on the matter, I've come to see that there is a natural and a supernatural world. One that sometimes can't be explained. One that we rely on conjecture to fathom, and one that sometimes requires a suspension of rational thought and a venture into the realms of faith and belief, with, at times, a circuitous logic to reinforce that belief.
In any case, this is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Some people will argue till the cows come home that there is no such thing. Some on the other hand, will maintain that there is and will pursue the matter to Feng shui masters, mediums, clairvoyants, and prophetic fortune tellers. From charlatans to chicanery, this one area of life in Malaysia and more specifically, Kuala Lumpur, we certainly do not lack.
So a few weeks ago, when Rob of http://atonne.blogspot.com/posted about his experience with the other side I remarked to him about my beliefs and he mentioned I should post about them and a specific incident which has molded those beliefs.
When I was almost 17 and in Boarding school in the UK, the method of discipline was writing lines. Basically, stuff like "One must not hiss and whisper in the dark nor exercise muscles in my mandibles after lights have been extinguished at night." Bro Canaan took a gothic glee in creating these lines to write, I think, because for one they were more difficult to write with the RM10 words, and you couldn't write them on just one line of A4 paper. We used to have this trick of tying 2 biros (ballpoints) together to write faster. This longer line meant we couldn't do that. Yes, the Brothers were devious, especially Bro Joe.
There we were, my partner in crime, Peter Emmett and I, scribbling away furiously in study hall in an attempt to finish everything as soon as possible so we could get back up to bed. Study Hall looked something like this.
It was around 1230am.
We were seated on either side of the aisle at the tables facing the front which led to the stairs up to the dorms, as marked in the diagram above. All of a sudden, the rear doors leading to the Chapel and Errington Corridor creaked open. Since that ante-corridor leads out to the back of the House, we thought a gust of wind was blowing it open. We ducked our heads back down and continued writing.
As we did that however, the door closed. It didn't just swing creakily shut. It closed. Deliberately. It sounded like someone was controlling its motion and had closed it as quietly as they could. Next, a slow shuffling, limping footstep was heard coming up the aisle. Stamp, slide, stamp, slide, stamp, slide.
Peter and I looked at each other. And looked down the aisle to the back.
There was nothing there. But the stamp, slide continued.
And it got closer. And closer.
We were riveted to our chairs. Unable to move. Unable to draw breath. The heating was off. It was autumn in Bath and as we slowly exhaled you could see wisps of condensation floating in front of our mouths. The stillness of quiet amplified every breath, every stamp, slide. Sitting there, in our dressing gowns, with pens in hand, listening, waiting, for the stamp slide to pass between us.
And it did. The sound passed us and arrived at the doors in the front leading out to the lobby and the stairs. Whoever/whatever it was, opened the front doors - deliberately - and with preternatural control, closed them again; accompanied by creaks and protests as the pre-war doors allowed whatever it was to pass through.
Being the brave souls we were, we sat, nailed to the desks for a heartbeat more and then abandoned everything as we flew, helter skelter, up the stairs and breathlessly back up to the dorms on the 3rd floor. Bro Joe was still awake. He looked up quizically at us and as we told him, we wondered if we imagined it all.
The story spilled out of us and without batting an eyelid, he said "OK. Finish your lines tomorrow and hand them in to me by 5 o'clock. Go to bed. And no more talking."
In retrospect, I think he believed us.
Being the curious sort I am, I could not let the matter rest. Peter and I didn't tell anyone about this and till today as far as I know, I have not discussed it with any of my fellow class mates at Prior Park.
However, the very next day, I decided to do a little research into the school and more specifically the corridor. Going to our little school library, I dug out history of who the Errington corridor was named for and a little history on my 270 year old school.
What little I found drew me to my eventual conclusion. For those who would like to read about how the Archdiocese of Clifton had affected the history of my school, have a gander. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocese_of_Clifton
Archbishop Errington had been directly influential on the history of Prior Park College and in his honour they named the corridor after him. Our 4 school houses at the time were also named after prominent Bishops of Clifton, Clifford, Brownlow, Baines, and Burton. Archbishop Errington however, was reputed to have a pronounced limp and was said to shuffle when he walked.
I believe that the spirit who walked that night was that of Archbishop Errington. And from then on, my belief in the supernatural realm was born.
For all of you who say that there are sensitives out there, it's only because they've accepted it and perhaps trained themselves to "see." I maintain that everyone is sensitive up to a point. How many of you remember the hackles rising on the back of your neck? How many of you see figures through the corner of your eye but when you turn, no one is there?
Well, I believe those are signs of spirits passing or walking by, for whatever reason.
For unbelievers, remember this; in our world, we see that everything has balance. For Black there is white. For Dark, there is light. For hot there is cold. The eternal opposities play their role in our lives every day.
So what is the eternal opposite of the Natural world?
I KNOW Shirley Maclaine would approve.