In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.
For several years I’ve worked as a technical documentation specialist for a state agency housed in the renovated old Rex Hospital in Raleigh. The hospital itself was functional in the mid 1930s through the late 1970s, becoming the agency I’ve worked with in the early 1980s. When I first came to work at the complex 11 years ago I did not know that it had been a hospital, though the greeting of trauma energy as soon as I entered the building was a profound clue. My tension was confirmed within my first hour there when I was told that it had been the largest hospital in the area at its inception, and shortly after I received my orientation hazing with the ‘ghost stories’ of the spirit nurse in elevator 1 who likes to play with the buttons and skip floors, the murmuring crowd that can be heard when alone in the building, doors opening and closing on their own—the usual paranormal fare. Of course accompanying those stories were ones of the collectively marked infant graves in the courtyard, various rumors about blood in the morgue (though I never saw that), and just general mumblings of uneasiness in certain areas of the complex from a grounds keeper.
Intent on my writing gig, I left the woowoo at home. I showed up everyday, did my work and called it a day. I never had any intention of mixing business with… well, business. Of course it wasn’t long before I started having odd experiences. It started out innocuously enough, hearing my name yelled out in an empty room (I had a huge office to myself for about a year), hearing the door to my office open and shut followed by the footsteps of someone walking up behind me, though no one would be there when I turned around, and an ever persistent feeling that someone was standing behind me while I was working. Events reached a crescendo when I felt an unseen hand linger on my shoulder one afternoon. I’ve set the intention fairly clearly that I will allow spontaneous spirit communication because that is part of my job as a deathwalker. However, I’m not receptive to being randomly touched by any stranger, living or spirit. I completed what I needed to do for the day then went to my car. I sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes holding space for the dead to move through. They came in droves. I’d never experienced a mass psychopomp event before. They never stopped coming. The only reason that I ended the session was because I was tired and it was dark outside. I felt bad for the truncated session, but I had to respect my own boundaries. Nobody loves a tired deathwalker.
I sat with the memory of that session for a long time, and as a result became more tolerant of the spirit interactions of my day job. I no longer separated my jobs. Part of my arrival routine became to greet the dead much as I do the living when we pass in the hall—which, by the way—on several occasions I’ve passed random people in the hall, brushed right up against them, only to glance immediately back to find no one in the corridor but myself. It has truly become the norm. When I softened to the regularity of spirit visitors they began to interact with me more, particularly after my office was relocated to the 4th floor.
I don’t know what the 4th floor was used for in the hospital, but as soon as I moved up there I began to see a few spirit regulars. One in particular was a young African American woman in her early 20s standing to the far left of the sinks. She was dressed in a very simple peach colored shift with a tiny hat the same color. She wore white gloves and clutched a white pocketbook tightly in both hands in front of her. Her gaze was toward the floor, and she didn’t seem happy. She was not interested in talking with me but she did let me know that she was not a patient at the hospital. She had been a guest visiting someone who had died there. The understanding that her loved one was no longer in the building did not occur to her, but she was afraid to be released. I did not coerce her and went on my way. I saw her several times, always in that same spot, and we would greet each other amicably.
One afternoon I was sitting at my desk when I felt her come into the office. Her mood had brightened considerably and she wanted to be released. She passed easily on to Spirit when another soul came. I held the space for that one to move through, when more continued to come. I sat for maybe 15 minutes as spirits moved through. However, even with all the movement I observed something unusual. There were hundreds of them observing the parade of souls, some even venturing to come up very close to my face, as if I was an oddity to them. In that session I felt that these were not all souls of those who had affiliation with the hospital. In fact, some of the souls I was sensing had never been human at all. Some had never even been in form, but were discarnate wafting entities. When I closed my eyes and visualized the complex from above it appeared as a vast vortex extending deep into the ground with thousands of souls meandering in it. It felt like a stagnant thinner area in the veil, when it should have been a free-flowing Grand Central Station of souls, easily sliding Here and There. Despite the number of souls I sensed in the space, those seeking to pass through had dwindled. Many were lingering just to watch.
Having spirits converge at a focal point then not facilitating some kind of release for them isn’t the smartest idea, but it’s also futile to try to force one to move on when it doesn’t want to, let alone to try to force hundreds. Yet I felt that this stagnancy was happening for a reason and I needed to honor it even if I did not understand it. I had my guides call on the guardians of the land there, to create the safest most supportive atmosphere possible for all souls inhabiting the space—living or discarnate. I figured if I couldn’t move them through the default was to make the veil there comfortable for us all. I checked on the situation fairly regularly, though, holding brief sessions to release those who were ready.
That was more than two years ago, now, and I continue to work with the space. No matter how many sessions I hold, souls never stop coming to pass through my openings for them. I have come to regard the complex as a haven for souls who indeed have endured some sort of trauma, even if that trauma merely was not passing peacefully into What Comes After. I’ve also concluded that there is something about the land itself that attracts all of these souls. What was built on it in modern times as place to care for others was merely focusing the land’s innate power to do just that. Perhaps with time and attention the land will give up more of its mysteries.