Ghosts, Astral Plane, Archangels, Murder Mystery, St. Augustine, Florida
Lighted tomb in St. Augustine, Florida


Or so they told me, one night last week when I was enjoying that space of mind you get when you're half awake, half asleep. You know the feeling, right? You're lying in bed, drifting off to sleep. It's sometimes hard to understand how your mind can draw a blank like that, but when it does it's liable to be filled with images from places unknown, things unheard of, subjects only thought about in your off-time. Nothing important, nothing really significant. But yet, can you imagine the feelings you can have when your mind has gone blank like that?

I can and often do. I am a meditator from way back, a person capable of letting go all thoughts, all feelings and just BE-ing. And in that little space of time when one can just BE, in that little space of mind when nothing is there but light and dark, only fleeting ideas, concepts, feelings, images, in that little empty place in the head something can come in and communicate. And that's exactly what happened to me last week, right here in good ole Saint Aug, the world's littlest capital of ghosts and hauntings and things that go bump, thump, rap and tap in the night. Here's what happened. I was lying awake, nearly asleep, when I heard something outside of myself and wondered what it was. That's when the "something" came into me and answered me, "I am Gary."

"You are who?" I thought. And then I thought, "Why?" This Gary person/being had a coffee cup in his hand and he appeared to be sipping it. He had a fellow with him that I recognized as my father. I knew it was my Dad because of the way he wandered about aimlessly in that empty place in my mind. He seemed to be a little lost. When he finally saw me, he seemed very loving and caring and he recognized me as his daughter. I was my father's one, true love beside my mother, who was his wife for longer than I care to say. Well, 60 years, in fact. But they parted ways, or so it seemed, last year when she died of breast cancer and he sustained a heart attack 2-1/2 months later. Now, he was in that empty space in my mind, wandering around with a coffee cup in his hand, as he always used to do in life.

Gary said to me, "Hey, let's talk." My Dad walked nearer to me in my mind when I called out to him, telepathically, "Dad, come here!" He obeyed, bless his heart. He was always like that, sweet, loving, caring and careful to come when called. But now Gary, who was this? Who was Gary? But before I could ask, he came closer with his cup of coffee and wanted to walk with me. So we walked side by side in that infinite space and talked a bit. He told me, "You know, I live near here."

I asked him, "Really, where?"

He replied, "Just down the street there."

"Just down the street where?" I asked.

"Near here," he answered.

"Near here where?" I asked. Cat and mouse we played for a little while longer, then he dropped his bomb on me. "I live in my grave. I live in that cemetery over the hill, there."

"There aren't any hills here, Gary," I replied. He was silent. I asked him, "What are you referring to as a hill?"

"You know," he said, "that hill over there, on the other side of that street."

"Oh, my goodness! You don't mean that bridge, do you?"

"Yes, I suppose so," he answered. He was talking about the bridge at the Le Leche shrine that goes over the water and into the cemetery. He was saying he lives there, in the cemetery on the other side of the little bridge.

"Gary," I said, "That's not a hill, that's a bridge over water."

"Whatever," he answered and shrugged.

My mind drifted and I thought to myself, in the midst of this most unusual encounter and conversation with Gary and my Dad, "This is what comes from doing seances."

"Well, yes it is," Gary responded. He could hear my thoughts-within-thoughts in this infinitely small space of mind we were occupying for this interesting conversation. He could hear my reflections on his comments and expressions. "It is true," he said. "I can hear you thinking to yourself. And you're right - when you do seances, this is what comes from it. You get unexpected results, and I am one of your results." Oh, that's who he is. That's why he was in my mind. It started to make sense in a weird way.

I thought back to those "real" moments in "real" time when the seances were held. I began by going to the Le Leche Shrine and praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She could hear me, I knew it. She was there. She came to my seances and left the beautiful aroma of roses in the hallway after the blessed event. She came, she saw, she participated. But before the seances, we walked to her shrine. She told me on the way that a green rosary would be waiting for me in the little chapel, and sure enough, it was. While we were there, she pointed out to us her "garden of delights," as she called it. We call it a cemetery. She showed us the graves of her "good friends," the nuns. She walked us around the place and held our hands. We could feel her touching us. She was omnipresent at all times. She walked with us, she talked with us. She was there for us. And so, apparently, was Gary.

"What do you mean, you live in your grave?" I asked him.

"We live in our graves," he said. I thought to myself, I wonder what that's like? I forgot he could hear me thinking.

"It's warm and funky," he answered.

I bet, I thought to myself, and I asked him, "What do you mean funky?"

"Well, you know," he answered. "What grave wouldn't be funky to live in."

"Well, then, why do you do it?" I asked him.

"Because it's my home," he responded. Well, at least he doesn't have to pay some of these high rents here, I thought. "No," he said. "I don't pay rent," and he laughed and sipped his coffee. Look at that, I thought. You've got to be dead to get a good real estate deal here.

"But I used to have a mortgage," he continued. "It outlived me," he said and laughed. "I used to live here and work here and play here, just like everyone else. But now I don't work anymore or have a mortgage like people do. But I enjoy the climate still."

"You mean, the warm Florida climate is what makes your grave warm?" That's a novel idea, I thought.

"No," he said. "What makes my grave warm is me. What makes my grave funky is that it's a grave, but what makes it warm is my intention that it should be warm." Oh, now we're going deeper, literally and figuratively, I thought. I had some more questions for Gary, now that I had him on the line - or rather in my head.

"Do you mean that when we die we have options, and one of them is to live in our graves?"

"Yes," he responded, "That's one of the options."

"So," I continued, "When we die there's a system involved, a system of choices?"

"Yes," he replied, "There's definitely a route to take."

"A route? You mean, in a make-sense kind of way?"

"Certainly, it makes sense," he replied. "It always did and it still does. You have choices, one of them is where to live - here, above, down there, over there, behind there, whatever you like. You can go where you like to go, you can do what you want to do and you can live where you want to live. But when you opt to live here, in Saint Augustine, your choices are limited, aren't they, especially in the downtown area where housing is at a premium. You've got to live where you can, and fortunately for ghosts not everyone wants to live in a grave, so there are many vacancies."

Gary continued, "Of course, most ghosts want to live in the houses where they're accustomed to living as people. But that's just the problem. We're not still people, are we? So, in my opinion, we don't need to be in the houses where the people are. This is an on-going debate around here among us ghosts, whether to live in the houses or not. I say, let's live in the graves where we belong and not in the houses where the people are, although some people don't seem to mind having us, do they? But they don't really correspond to us and they often hurt us, so the best thing for the ghosts, in my opinion - and this is just my opinion - is to live in our last resting place. Or someone else's last resting place that they've vacated, spirit-wise. The bodies are still there but you can work around that, if you're motivated. You know, the coffins are nice, many of them quite plush - all soft and pleasant - and easy enough to heat. And cheap, too, in terms of not sustaining spiritual injuries by humans. So yes, we live in our graves, those of us who care about what it means to be ghosts and who have detached from the desire to be human again. Those of us who are truly balanced ghosts live in our graves. And that's a fact."

And out of my head he popped, leaving me thinking about those ghosts in the trees at the Tolomato Cemetary downtown. I secretly suspected they were living in those graves, but who dared to think a thing like that? I thought about the ghosts living in the ladies' restroom at the restaurant where I used to work. They enjoyed making the hostesses run screaming down the hallway. I used to go in there and just sit and wait, to see if any ghosts would try to chase me out. I guess they didn't want to bother me because they never did. Or maybe they knew I wasn't afraid, and so I also wasn't any fun, either.

I was sorry to see Gary leave. He seemed much more balanced than those gangster ghosts and those pirate ghosts that come to my seances. They were a bit violent, but they certainly proved to us they could move things around. The pirates pushed one of the ladies down, but didn't hurt her, and then later on they sailed their spirit-ship into the wall of my apartment, making the building shake and scaring me pretty good. But that's another story. Gary left and off to sleep I went, dreaming of life, dreaming of being spirit and of having a soft bed and hot coffee in the morning in my overpriced and definitely haunted cottage in downtown Saint Augustine.

In the morning I awoke and went to work on my computer building my web site, the joy of my life. I wondered if the grave has electrical outlets. To tell the truth, I don't know how I'll make it in the afterlife if there's no Internet. I can handle a funky grave as long as I'm online. I'll have to ask Gary about that the next time we meet. He heated that coffee somehow. Maybe he knows how to power up a computer, too. "Whenever I dream of life, I dream of being human," he told me just before he left. I wonder if that means he dreams of being real?

Claire Grace Watson



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