Thursday, 1 February 2018

Chloe


I consider myself as a rational fella and consequently, I will have no truck with anything which smacks of the supernatural or miraculous. The supernatural does not exist and miracles do not occur. A miracle, as I understand the word, is the suspension of natural law. Now you may think this is a bold sweeping statement for a scientist to make especially as we are expected to maintain an open mind. But this only applies to our natural world and phenomena within it. By definition, anything considered supernatural is beyond nature and therefore beyond our senses. Even if a supernatural realm did exist we would never be able to perceive it. For all intent and purpose, supernatural phenomena are equivalent and tantamount to non-existence.

I used to be less rational. Up until my early 20s, I actually believed in ghosts, paranormal events and supernatural worlds which could be perceived, albeit darkly, if we searched hard enough. As my scientific education advanced I evolved into a true sceptic. There was no dramatic or romantic 'Road to Damascus' moment and my stance toward the supernatural changed by degrees (literally) over several years until I came to realise that the Natural Universe is surely mysterious enough when viewed through a rational and critical lens, so why posit something which can never be demonstrated? You could say that my intellect, 'grew up' and no longer dealt with childish things.

I present this brief introduction to emphasise my rational scientific stance before I relate a series of rather uncanny events experienced by my wife, who for the purpose of this post will be referred to as Mrs Saxon. I did think of calling her Mrs Mugumbo, but that wouldn’t make much sense, would it? Just over a year ago, Chloe, our beloved Maltese Terrier bitch died. She was 14 years old and succumbed quickly to liver disease. At the time we were on holiday in Bali and felt guilty for not being there to comfort her at the end. My wife took it particularly hard as my wife and Chloe had a very strong bond and everywhere Mrs Saxon went Chloe was sure to follow.

Mrs Saxon has subsequently struggled with her grief and in quiet moments will shed a silent tear. All this understandable, we form strong emotional connections with our pets and I think this is particularly so with our dogs. Now, this is where it gets a little interesting and spooky. About six months ago my wife started to see Chloe around the house. Just a brief image of a furry flash, briskly glimpsed. As we own two Maltese Terriers, both of which are very much alive, she rationalised that it must be one of them. Then one day she saw a fleeting flash of white fur in her periphery whilst our other two Maltese dogs were nestling on her lap.

My wife kept the visitations to herself and was reluctant to share the phenomenon with her highly sceptical husband fearing ridicule. Finally, she could keep it within no longer and blurted the story out one evening. I didn't laugh, I'm not a fool, but listened intently. I asked her if she honestly believed that what she was seeing was really Chloe? To her credit, she said no. She had the sense to realise that whatever was happening was likely an illusion born of grief, guilt and perhaps hope. Now some might say that Mrs Saxon is witnessing the shade of our dead dog stopping by for a brief visit; the bond between my wife and Chloe cheating and transcending even death. However, I would be very unhappy with such an explanation as it entails grave epistemological consequences. If one dead creature can materialise then why not all dead creatures? That being the case our ordered methodical world would collapse and melt into unpredictable chaos. Nothing would be certain anymore. But of course, this is not the case. We really do live in an ordered predictable universe, quantum physics excepted.

Chloe visits often, apparently, about once every two weeks, and it is always a cursory sojourn- she may pass a door or disappear into an adjacent room. So what is the answer? My wife feels tremendous grief, loss and guilt. Three very powerful emotions. Could her psyche be conjuring up images of our dead dog to provide some form of comfort in her desolation; a soothing mental salve? I would say yea, and my wife certainly thinks this is the case.

I’m interested from a scientific investigative perspective. I’ve asked my wife to keep note of dates and times and provide a description of the manifestation. Under the circumstances you might expect my wife to tell me to: ‘Bugger off’ considering the emotional content, but no. We hope to move soon and it will be interesting to see if the ‘ghost of Chloe’ travels to our rural idyll- I predict closure. I will keep my readers informed, unless I forget, or can’t be bothered to put pen to paper.




9 comments:

  1. I too don't have any truck with the supernatural for similar reasons. But a few years ago, I was involved in a bit of a ghost story. Due to the long winded complexity of the tale, I won't bore you with it, and I also believe there may have been a bit of hoaxing going on at the same time. However,the gist is; I saw someone who would have had to have got into a locked room in a locked building before me. I had the keys and there was only one set of those... Midlands Today, and Nationwide (Remember those?) covered this particular Haunting, yours truly starred... How cringe worthy for the nation. Still and all odd things happen, but just because I don't understand it, it ain't supernatural.

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    1. It's funny isn't? Folk will experience something out of the ordinary and are happy to ascribe a supernatural cause without a thought for a rational explanation. Tis a form of uncrtical thinking, sadly commonplace. I see you have had your 15 minutes. Of course the media care little for the truth of the matter and care only for a good rollicking story.

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  2. Walking through the long flat Castillian countryside in Spain on the pilgrimage to Santiago, I saw something hop into the track a hundred yards or so ahead of me. It remained there motionless and so I kept staring at it as I approached, thinking it would dart off as I got closer.
    Turned out to be a pile of sheep droppings! There was of course no way it could have actually moved itself into my field of vision so I assume that my brain made an adjustment for me about something I should have registered earlier.

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    1. Some folk would call that a miricle and place the turd in a shrine!

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  3. Chronostasis is our friendly explanation for this effect. I think there are already too many turds in shrines about this world...

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    1. Interesting. I'm inspired to do a post about 'holy relics'. Maybe the Turin shroud?

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    2. After reading Tony F's comment, I misread yours at first glance as, "Turd in Shroud" (which makes the point about seeing (in the visual cortex) what we want/expect to see, not necessarily related to images on the retina).

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    3. Actually Ed. I like your first impression. Missed opportunity.

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