ENCORE: BOO...HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 NEWSLETTER...VOL.#5, ISSUE #10
Date:    October 2013
 
This October's newsletter will be dedicated to my treasured friend Laurie who left us far too soon.
I featured our story in last year's Halloween newsletter and she was the first to call me to say how after all these years that experience we shared still spooked the heck of her...ditto!  
I know that she's at this moment thinking oh..no..here we go again while laughing in that high quirky pitch of hers that was so infectious.
ENCORE:   HAPPY HALLOWEEN 
 
Do you believe that we’re more than flesh and blood?

That inside of us dwells an ‘energy’ that never dies…the spirit.

You know that feeling when the hair in the back of your neck raises, your heart is racing, and the palms of your hands start to sweat? When you know you’ve heard, felt, or smelled something, something out of the ordinary, unexplainable...is someone there watching you?

You turn around and nothing is there, within that moment you shake it off as only fanciful thoughts, or maybe not...spooky stuff?!?

We seem to be very accepting of what is physically ‘seen’ in life, but what about the subtle nuances around us.

We’re taught not to trust what we ‘can’t see’ and that there’s always a plausible explanation for the so called ‘strange occurrences’. But what if some of these ‘unexplained phenomena’s’are real, what if spirits are real, but they are not always seen or felt.

There are many seminal works that scientifically proves that there is a field of untapped energy running through everything in the universe. Think about all of the invisible vibrations and energies in the air around us. All of those radio and electrical waves. We don’t see them but they are there.

As long as humans have lived on the earth talk of the afterlife has been a pass time and a cause for scientific study.

For this Halloween’s newsletter may I suggest that we put aside the science and questions of whether spirit exists or not and let’s just enjoy the mystery and romance of never knowing for sure.

I love to hear ghost stories, and though I’m also very interested in facts and scientific investigations, for now I’m going to put that aside and share with you my own ghost story.

ROMAN GHOST:

The story takes place several years ago and up to that point the paranormal was always something fun to delve into at Halloween, but not really believing in its existence. Until, two gal pals and I took a summer vacation in Italy.

We could hardly contain our excitement; imagine three young single women traveling to one of the most romantic countries in the world.

It was the summer of 1986, off we embarked, Michelin and ‘Shop until you Drop’ guides in hand, to fully embrace and participate in every adventure this country would offer!

We had a greater advantage than most travelers… family living there, which made our experiencing Italy more as insiders rather than as tourists. What a pleasure to get into the genuine Italian way of living and enjoying the country.

Before the three of us set out to become captivated by this country’s ancient and modern treasures, we stayed with my Neapolitan side of the family for a short time.

Staying with family gave us an opportunity to connect with them, also with friends, and locals that escorted us through some of the most beautiful Italian sceneries, teaching us traditions, culture, feasting on endless courses of food, and sharing with us antidotes, myths and mysteries handed down from the ancients.

So far Italy was becoming an unforgettable experience; we couldn’t wait for more excitement. Well, you know what they say; ‘be careful for what you wish for!’ What we got was a very different type of excitement!

Some of the family friends we were introduced to may have been the most ‘colourful’ characters we’d had ever met. They delved into various forms of art: art of automatic writing (communicating with spirits through writing); art of liqueur making by modern day witches (really, no jesting!) that actually brewed an elixir called ‘Strega’ (means witch), so heady to lose one self in; an eccentric artist that swore all of his art was created by still life that would suddenly become ‘alive’ before it hit the canvas (perhaps too much grappa for this one!), and the most extraordinary and chilling of all, Aneillo the Warlock!

This particular guy had no resemblance to Professor Dumbledore, with his kindly eyes, magic wand and a robe appliquéd with moon and stars! Aneillo was a country man simply dressed with all sorts of herbs that filled pouches which hung from his pants and jacket, though kind enough, his eyes were steel grey and haunting.

Here in Canada he’d be considered kind of strange, but in Italy this man was revered. Aneillo was the 'go to' man if you needed to remove curses and unidentified ailments.

Curses…unidentified ailments!!! Oh my!! The gal pals and I were not exactly sure whether to laugh or pretend we too were all knowing as the natives and kept quiet. But that didn’t last long, curiosity got the best of us and we wanted details. We should never have asked, I’m not one that frightens easily, but Aneillo’s job description kept me awake for a week!

Matter of factly he began: “People in these parts live along side with the world of spirits and for some they delve into the dark arts without conscious. It’s very common for us to summon and pick up a conversation with spirits, convincing them to do our bidding…for a price of course, and not necessarily in cash!”

The gals and I were rendered speechless, too astounded to say anything,

Aneillo continued: “When people allow this dark side to take over they’re likely to sell their soul to acquire a desired outcome. This is when they seek out people who practice black magic and curses creators.

At the beginning I started foraging for herbs to heal people then one day I met this crotchety old man in a nearby forest crawling on all fours. I thought he’d taken a fall and ran to help him up. Yanking his arm away from my hold he started spewing abscenities, throwing brambles at me and yelling…’man, can’t you see your disturbing the nature ?’

I didn’t have a clue what he meant, so I quietly sat on a nearby rock and watched him as he hunted for herbs on all fours! It seemed hours had gone by, but it was only a short time after he got up from his fours and approached me. Here goes, I thought, he’s going to ream me again with branches…but he didn’t. He sat with me on that rock and told me it was my lucky day! That he was going to pass his legacy of magic onto me. Thinking him a mad man I humoured him and encouraged him to tell me his so called ‘magical’ secrets.

Not so fast, you want to know, meet me every day for the next three month and if you’re dedicated I’ll teach you everything.’

‘And that was the beginning of my journey, learning this extraordinary gift and discovering that the fabric which holds this world and the other is very fragile and manipulative, more like a ‘veil’.

‘The day before the last lesson the old man asked me to meet him at the local cemetery at midnight. Not an unusual request, since during the three months we met at various locations at different times, all with significant meanings. But on this particular night the full moon was out and I was to meet him behind the old chestnut tree that faced the cemeteries’ wall. As I approached him he grabbed my arm throwing me with brute strength into the nearby bush.

‘Shhh…haven’t I taught you anything, man, be nimble on your feet, for heaven sake, your pounding the ground is waking the dead!!!! Look up there on the ledge of the wall’.

I couldn’t see anything: ‘What am I to look at?’

Hissing at me... ‘There at the end of the wall’.

‘I could barely make out what it was, a figure or some kind of animal walking on top of the wall, but as it came into focus, it was a woman!

I couldn’t believe my eyes she appeared to be floating above the wall. ‘How could this be possible, humans don't levitate? Not realizing I had said it out loud.’

‘Curses…every full moon there are specific rituals conducted to make ‘curses’ much more powerful and a few of these local witches are the only ones that know how to perform them, except for me, of course! Listen man, you have to know how to perform them in order to help remove them and I know the secrets” answered the old man.

‘That night made me a true believer in other worldly experiences that traversed into this world. Ever since, my work is about healing and also removing curses’. He then looked over at us. ’ You ladies remember that even if you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Life is full of unexplainable circumstances.”

The idea of his story being real was beyond our belief, yet so fascinating. Today, in hindsight he sort of prepared us for our haunting journey to come.

North the gal pals and I headed on our trip towards the eternal city of Rome. Within minutes of entering Rome we instantaneously fell in love with it.

Rome is a magical city filled with ancient monuments, buildings, exclusive boutiques, shops, family residences all nestled together on narrow cobblestoned streets with one-way traffic. We felt transported into another time long ago.

After some effort navigating through the narrow one way streets we finally found our King Hotel. Situated on very tight ‘via’ (street), it didn’t look so kingly, but once we entered we were relieved that its interior was charming and a well kept older hotel. The manger informed us that we were closer to the Spanish steps, the fashion hub, and pizzerias of Rome than what we had originally though. He was so accommodating giving us more info about all sorts of local tips and directions to famed tourist attractions, so off we went.

After Rome we continued north into the other regions following our travel itinerary.

In few places do art and living intermingle so easily? With the unforgettable experiences we were creating, soon we too were intermingling effortlessly in...‘la bella vita`… (The beautiful life)!

During our journey we threw caution to the wind and decided to cancel the other planned stops and returned to our beloved Rome. Without hotel reservations we were going to live like the Italians, in the moment!

Our first stop was back to the King Hotel where the manager was openly happy to see us again, but concerned quickly showed on his face. Unfortunately he said with regret, the hotel was all booked along with many of the nearby hotels.

Italy is known for its many feast days and the Italian’s celebrate by taking full advantage of time off work and partying.

Wanting to help us he said that he would do his best to locate a hotel for us. Grateful for his help we waited in the lobby and prayed to the Roman saint being celebrated that he’d find us a hotel, at least for the night.

While we were waiting I had decided to walk around to the back part of the hotel. Walking by the interior hotel office I overheard the manager’s phone conversation; “I don’t care, these ladies need a place to stay… (Pause)...not to worry for a few nights it won’t matter.

I quickly walked back to my friends and told them what I overheard. Not making much of it, our concerned quickly disappeared when the manager returned all smiles, telling us he’d found out that the King’s sister hotel had a room available for us, but it was located on the outskirts of Rome.

Directions in hand we headed out to the suburbs of Rome. Not quite sure what we’d find, but if we hadn’t found a hotel we were willing to sleep in the car, so any kind of room would be good.

We arrived to see this majestic hotel, definitely from the 17th century and very well taken care off. Jackpot!!! How lucky were we? Excited at our good fortune, we parked and the porter took our suitcases up. The manager came to greet us and was going to personally escort us to our room. What service, we thought; the Roman saint had blessed us!

Up we went arriving on our floor, walking down a long corridor, then down another long corridor, then again another long corridor this time the manager pointed out the lounge/bar and how convienient it was that we were so close. But I noticed that he started to look concerned or was it guilt on his face? He kept apologizing for not having a better room for us. At this point the way he was acting I thought he was going to take us to the ‘broom closet’, but to our surprise when he opened the door to our room, it was very nice.

We went in and decided to scope the room out a bit more. It looked to be in fairly good shape, overall. Spacious and with three separate beds, again we couldn’t understand why the manager was so apologetic, regardless, we thanked him telling him we were very happy.

After settling in we went about our day exploring this other side of Rome. That evening one of the gals was not feeling too well and decided to stay in. My other friend and I went off to the lounge to meet some of the other guest and enjoy the evening. Upon returning that night we found our friend worst for wear and still awake with all of the lights and TV on. I made mention of it and she told us that she felt uncomfortable in the room. She couldn’t explain why, but the room made her feel unsafe and uneasy.

She said, ‘I couldn’t sleep, it felt like someone was watching me and I had the sensation of icy breath on my face’.

We looked around for vents, but the only vents in the room were near to the door and near the window, not around or above her bed. Reassuring her that it was most likely her fever, we got ready for bed. My bed was closest to the window at the far side of the room so we placed all of our handbags and cases there and went to bed.

During the night a chilled feeling crept over me as I reached for the covers, my strength escaped me and all I could manage was slightly prying my eyes open. To my horror I saw a dark shadowed figure, wearing a fedora (no less!), passing over my friend’s bed and coming towards me!

My first thought was that a robber had broken into the room, and then my thoughts went immediately to our bags under the window where we kept cash and our traveling documents. Trying as much as I could to move but remaining paralyzed and incapable of screaming, the figure came closer to the foot of my bed. My last conscious though was how strange that this thief was so overdressed…thankfully I passed out.

The next day all was forgotten our friend feeling much better, we got on with our day exploring this other part of Rome, between sight-seeing, walking and shopping; we’d needed to conserve some energy to paint the town that evening so we headed back to the hotel.

While in our room for a short rest and to dress we were chit chatting about the day and I happened to remember the bad dream I’d had the previous night and told my friends; I had the strangest dream last night...as I continued to tell about the dream a look of horror crossed both of their faces. They too had felt and saw the same presence!

My other friend who’s bed was beside mine; burst into tears at the thought a ghost was actually in our room!! Imagine that? We couldn’t believe it!

She told us that she was also paralyzed in fear noticing the shadow of a well-dressed man walking towards my bed, but she couldn’t move or call out to warn me…then she too passed out.

Now we knew what the manager knew and felt so bad about!

Maybe our haunted hotel didn’t have the creaking floorboards, loud banging noises or the bloodcurdling screams of fellow guests, but a long time ago a visitor to the eternal city never left…even in death!

Perhaps it’s not the most chilling of supernatural stories, but to this day whenever we talk about the Roman ghost, the little hairs of our arms raise to acknowledge that we indeed had a paranormal encounter.

Perhaps there's such a thing has wanting something so desperately that events can be manipulated into curses or healings. Whose is to say? When I was in school my sociology professor came in on the first day and state: Whatever we could imagine happening and existing in this world and in the universe is all possible!

Our Italian trip changed and formed us into becoming open minded woman that do not easily discount the unknowable or the unseen. This lesson will stay with us forever.

Whether there is or isn’t proof of spirits…it’s made me a believer!!!

Happy Halloween

Be Well….

Thought for October:

On Halloween, witches come true;
Wild ghosts escape from dreams.
Each monster dances in the park....
~Nicholas Gordon,

P.S. Do you have a paranormal experience to share, if so send your story to:

adesimone@rogers.com

Or

At the address below:

Thank you for visiting:

http://www.adhp.ca/

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