This post should have gone in a while back since the events described happened on 18 November but, as I have said, I am squeezing these blog posts into a busy life.
As a pre-script of sorts to this blog, I moved to the Capital Region of New York in August of this year. I had lived, previously, in the Columbus, Georgia area while my wife finished grad school and, prior to that, I had lived in Western New York. When my spouse was first considering the job that brought us back to New York state, we, of course, came to visit the area. Both of us came away with the feeling that this would be a good move for us; my wife had never experienced the stultification of living in the so-called Bible Belt and was more than eager to be on her way. I had noted, with senses other than the ordinary, that this new area was literally alive with spirits of all types and that, plus the pre-eminence of deciduous trees, mountains and rivers, made the place well nigh irresistible to this magic worker with a strong pagan bent.
As I have noted in my posts entitled, Kaaterskill Falls and Missing 411:An Interesting Psychic Impression, the Land where I now live has already provided me with some interesting experiences and the little story that follows is a new one for that collection.
I am a life long martial artist and, though I have never earned the coveted black belt, I continue to train regularly. Given our car situation, this sometimes means that I have to drop the car off for my wife at work and then walk to class, a distance of about a mile and a half. She then joins the class later and we drive home together from the dojo.
On the night in question, the temperature had moderated into the 50’s from the very cool temps we had been experiencing the week before and the moon was just past full, shedding her glorious light over the town as I walked briskly toward my destination. Those of you familiar with the magical arts will know that the full moon and the times right around it are times when the magical currents are high and, on this particular night, I could not help but feel the energy in the air. There are days in a mage’s life when he seems to trudge along, doing magic, and then there are nights like this one where he becomes magic. Needless to say, I was smiling to myself as I made my way through town.
As with the incident with the Black Dog described in the post linked above, I was not in a deep trance but the repetitive motion of walking allowed me to move in a sort of light trance. I’ve actually experienced whole shamanic voyages during a run (not recommended unless you are running in a place where there is no vehicular traffic) when I was much younger and often find that a walk will clear my head and allow things to surface from my subconscious or other senses.
As I moved up a hill, I became aware that I was seeing a figure standing on the bridge some distance off and that this figure seemed to be wearing a dark robe with a hood. Now, this is a college town and there is an active gaming community so I thought that I might be looking at some role playing wizard. I glanced away and then looked again and the figure was gone.
Now, understand that the figure was standing on a bridge that overlooks a steep drop. Pedestrians are protected by a tall fence that would prevent any but the most determined from getting over it. The figure was standing at the entrance to the bridge so, in order to “disappear”, it would have been necessary to run the 100 meters in under a second, clearing the bridge and ducking into the neighborhood beyond. If the figure had come toward me, there was no place for it to hide on a street lit by both the brilliant moon and sodium vapor arc streetlights. It is barely possible that the figure could have scaled the fence and dropped over on the other side but I find it highly unlikely that anyone other than a trained athlete could have accomplished this. Then there is the matter of doing it in a flowing robe and the rather long drop on the other side of the fence. Perhaps I encountered a robed version of Spiderman but I rather doubt it.
While my skeptical side is prepared to admit that there is a distant possibility that this could have been an ordinary human, my magical side knew that I had just had another encounter with one of the numerous spirits that walk the land where I live. I proceeded cautiously to the spot where I last saw the figure and took a good look around. Nothing. I did not sense any threat or hostility so I am inclined to think that this might have been a spook. The little town where this happened has a history that dates back to the Revolutionary War period and was even the site of a little skirmish. My robed figure could have easily been a person in a long cloak with a hood or I might have spotted one of those interesting “ghost monks” that are common in European castles and the like.
Regardless, I continued on my way and, as I walked on that magical evening, I noted that many of the homes in the area, which now serve to house students, also serve to house a lot of residual energy. I would bet that any poor college student who happened to live in one of these places and happened to be a bit fey would have some interesting experiences. While I can not claim to live in “Spook Central”, I can certainly state, unequivocally, that the area has a huge potential for hauntings.