First: I have huge problems with most paranormal & ghost-hunting groups & shows…because everyone forgets that the ghosts are people, and people who are now trapped in horrifying, terrifying situations, yet are being treated like performing zoo animals. Why aren’t these groups trying to HELP these people move on?? Instead, they’re exploiting them for cheap thrills and “experiences”.
There was a youtube video of one such group who was visiting some asylum (Waverly, I think), and two of the guys were trying to get a child ghost to “play with the ball”. “Can you move the ball? Move the ball for us. Can you do that?”
Man, if I was that ghost & had the ability, I would’ve shoved that ball up their asses. Imagine asking a live child that, or a mentally disabled person. Ghosts are not your private carnival geek show.
With that said…yes, I’ve got my own ghost story. Whether it’s a true ghost story or a possible past-life intruding on present day reality, I don’t know, but…
(Yes, I know my tale can be debunked & explained. It’s very subjective & personal. I don’t care.)
Ok. For the longest time (since at least 5th or 6th grade or so), I’ve had a *real* imaginary friend — and by “real”, I mean I had conversations with him, heard his replies, and always felt a real “presence” next to me, no matter where I was or what I was doing. It never bothered me or spooked me. He simply was my friend. I didn’t think too much about it, except learning to keep quiet and hide the fact from people around me. I’d also have continual flashes of image of crossing a snow-covered field, lying down in furrows, or riding a horse across that field…which was really odd, because I was raised pure “city”, and had only ridden a horse once, as a very young child, and I only sat on its back as a neighbor led the horse around the pasture.
Cue the early ’90s: I was working — yeah, laugh now — at a 1-900 Psychic Line (Kebrina Kincaid, if anyone cares). The call center was set up in a cozy house in Columbus’s German Village, and took pains to make us comfortable & give us a “safe” environment to take those calls.
Now those lines are mostly as fake as a $3 bill, though most of my co-workers seemed to sincerely believe they were psychically gifted. At the time, I wasn’t sure — I’m still not. My jury’s out on the whole issue of psychic. ANYWAY…one night I’d just returned to work after a nasty bout with an upper respiratory infection. I was loopy & half-past-cracked on cold meds, which made for some very odd calls…but it was a slow night, and to pass the time, I started doing a Tarot reading on my Imaginary Friend, just to see what information I could get & verify who /what he was.
(disclaimer: I am not psychic. I know how to read tarot cards. I’m good at cold-reading and thanks to having been a Radio DJ, I’ve got a good “on-air” presence. That’s it.)
So I’m sitting there laying cards out & writing down my impressions & the Tarot reading in my notebook (and Said “Imaginary” Friend was massively amused over it): war/battle, the “fight” cards & sword-cards that showed warriors…Civil War? soldier in the Civil War?… the number 3 kept coming up….I kept getting the name “Joshua Thomas”…image of green mountains (and the Tarot deck I used had cards with mountain pictures showing up), which I associated with the Smokies in TN, since I’d been there so much as a kid…
There’d been joking chat among my co-workers during all this, and one of them noticed I hadn’t said anything most of the night, and asked if I was all right. I mumbled something about doing a Tarot reading on my Imaginary Friend…
…and co-worker replied, “Oh, you mean that soldier who hangs around you?”
This co-worker was not sitting near me. She was across the room; I was tucked into a corner. We had our little cubicles; there was no way she could’ve seen the cards or my notes (my handwriting is piss-poor) or what I was doing. The only person next to me was my husband, who also worked there, and he was on lunch break at the time. So…yeah…I just stared at her for a long, long moment…and managed to stammer out, “What?”
“The soldier guy. He’s wearing a really old uniform, Civil War, I think…he’s really young…”
Okay. If you’re freaked out at this point, that’s NOTHING compared to what I had going through my head (plus looped-out on cold meds). But I’m not done yet….
I managed to get the topic changed…but a couple days later, with that notebook in hand, I decided to head to the Columbus main library & try to do some research on my Friend. Now I knew nothing about how to do research on soldiers & armies & whatnot, especially from that far back, so I did what any common-sense person would do. I asked the librarian.
“Um…do you folks have any information on Civil War soldiers? Like, who fought?”
“Um…Tennessee. I think.”
At this point, she’s giving me that special Librarian look. “Well, we mostly have just information on Ohio, but the Civil War history section is over here…” And she led me over to the rows and pointed out the specific shelves and left.
I’m standing there, looking at the books with no clue where to start, and not having any other idea, I just started pulling books at random and checking the indexes for names. Nothing. After about 5-10 books, I decided this wasn’t going to work, that it was hopeless, and I needed more info or maybe find some contact in TN…
As I was putting all the books back, I caught sight of another book tucked away on the bottom shelf along the floor: an old book, dog-eared, gray covered, titled something like “Rebel POWs in Union Prison Camps during the Civil War”.
Oooookay. I pulled the book out, settled to sit on the floor, opened the book to the middle — it was a list of names, and I’d hit the S’s. Turned the page…and right there, middle of the very next page:
“Jos. Thomas, 3rd Company, TN”
I stared at that, and stared…and I was starting to shake really bad and *cry* of all things. He was the only Jos. Thomas *listed* on the page…which was really weird, because I’d been certain “Joshua Thomas” (or Jos. Thomas, since it’s also an abbreviation for “Joseph”) would have to be a common name, especially in the South…
….and when I turned the page to check, I realized that the book wasn’t an alphabetical listing of all the POWs. It was arranged **by camp.** I’d turned to within one page of his listing on my first try.
So I’m sitting there, on the floor among the back shelves of the CPL American History section, crying and shaking, and Brett (husband) found me at that point. He took the book and looked it over, and said something like, “But it lists his death date. You said you thought he survived the war…”
At which point, Imaginary(?) Friend piped up with, “If you were able to bribe the guards, hell yeah.”…at the same time Brett laughed and said, “The SOB faked his own death…”
And that’s where matters sat, for a few months…