I’m about to embark on a three-day road trip to check out some haunts and legends in northern New England. My bucket list of places I want to check out is growing exponentially these days, and I realize the only way to manage that list is to take a few days and get to them. So myself, Frank Grace, whose name you may recognize from my annual Haunted New England calendar, and Tony Dunne, who produces the New England Legends television series with me, are heading out in search of the bizarre. We’ll be taking photos, videos, and living and breathing these haunts for three days.
As we plan for this 1,000-mile-plus road trip, it got me thinking about signs. I’ve done enough road trips, and traveled enough highways late at night after coming back from investigating a haunt or giving a lecture program, to know how weary the road can make you. Miles become monotonous, and after hours your senses dull, and your eyes can get heavy. But then… something happens.
Sometimes I’ll pass a cross on the side of the road--a homemade memorial to someone who must have died right there--right where I’m passing right now. It’s a literal sign, sure, but that doesn’t mean it lacks supernatural powers. I see that sign and am reminded that we don’t always reach our destination. That some of us perish en route to where we thought we were going. That sign forces me to sit up, maybe lower the windows and let some air in, maybe turn the music up a little louder to keep myself alert.
While some signs are literal, others are more subtle. Back in October of 2001, my grandfather passed away in his sleep. He lived into his 80s, he had a great life, and I was fortunate to be close to him both geographically and emotionally most of my life. Considering we all have to go sometime, his ending was about as good as one could hope for, but still I was sad because I was going to miss him terribly.
My grandfather was quite a character in life. He’d talk to anyone. He always smiled, he laughed easily, and he had this funny quirk of honking his car horn a lot. He’d honk at no one in particular. Just beep beep. I’d ask who he honked at, and he’d tell me he knew that squirrel in the tree.
The day he died I went to see my grandmother. My grandfather’s body still lay in his bed, he’d yet to be picked up by the funeral home. Through tear-filled eyes, I looked at him one last time and said my goodbyes.
Later that afternoon, I was in my apartment in New Haven, Connecticut. I was hurting badly, and through more tears I said out loud, “Just give me some kind of sign you’re still with me.” Not two seconds later, right outside my window, I hear a car horn beep beep. I laughed and cried at the same time. That was my sign.
To my skeptic friends, let me say right here that I acknowledge that New Haven is a city. A small city, but a city nonetheless. A car horn anytime day or night outside of my apartment was no anomaly. However, in that moment, I believe it was my sign, and it brought me peace.
Doing what I do, I’ve met many people who express disappointment that their loved ones who passed on haven’t given them a sign. Sometimes there were even agreements in place while they were alive. Some of us who remain behind may even become a little bitter about our lack of an apparent contact. But instead of looking for something big, maybe we need to look all around us. The little signs are always there, and they often add up.
Sometimes a sign can come in the form of a message we hear, or a conversation we have with a stranger. This month on Ghostvillage.com, we’re going to dive into signs a little deeper. Please consider sharing signs you’ve experienced in our Encounters section.