[continued from the previous edition]
Ghostly Encounters at Central State Hospital
A true account by
Mark Andrews (firstname.lastname@example.org)
???? "Impossible" is relative
On my second day of orientation, I walked with one of my instructors to the building where I would be working (Bolton Bldg.). There would always be a bevy of patients walking the halls or sitting or lying on the floor.
The pay phones were a popular draw for a lot of them. Frequently, a patient would go through the motions of making a phone call while in reality there would be no call in progress. My eyes locked on one such resident as we walked through the hall that day. Have you ever beheld something or someone so implausible that your rational mind engages in a tug of war with your consciousness? Where you stop, look , turn away; look again - turn away again - look one more time - and then finally surrender your logical resistance to a begrudging acceptance of the sight? This was one of those moments.
There, engaged in a pseudo phone call, was - for all the world! - the carbon- copy spitting-image of General Robert E. Lee. ( although in contemporary clothing ).
My astonishment was obvious to the instructor who asked me what was wrong. I responded, "That looks like Robert E. Lee!" She stopped, looked; gave me a grimaced smile and matter-of-factly observed: "That IS Robert Lee. (pause) Do you know him from the "outside"?"
The man's given name WAS Robert E. Lee. My instructor seemed oblivious to the historical irony. I said, "No, I've never seen him before now." She then gave me one of those
"You're pulling my leg" facial expressions and laughingly inquired, "Then how did you know his name?" I had to come up with SOMETHING fast. "I've seen pictures of him", was the best I could put together. "A friend of your family's", she continued. "No, I've just... seen pictures of him." I shakily came back. "Huh!" , she shook her head - "Well it sure is a small world, isn't it?" We continued on our way; dropping the subject.
I don't know where in your personal belief system you might have a place for reincarnation. But honestly, this didn't appear to be such a case. It was more something approaching time- traveling teleportation! (Or so it seemed.)
Simple "coincidence" falls far short as an explanation for Mr. Lee's full name in alignment with his facial features; down to the appropriately trimmed grey beard.
I never had occasion to speak with Robert. - Not that I would be able to find the right words that could allow me to investigate the phenomenon! As I recall, he died after having been transferred to a local medical hospital. I sometimes wonder if it was "just me", or if Robert (in fact) really DID, objectively, look so much like his historic name-sake. OR - - Was I seeing him through the filter of his karmic past?
With the intense level of psychic strangeness prevalent on the Central State grounds, one explanation is just as valid as another.
You could feel it! There is a persistent electro-static charge to the air. In some spots, the trans-dimensional energies take on the texture of a psychic gel that seems to actually slow you down and to weigh on you as you walk through. With enough experience, you come to unconsciously walk around such pockets.
Another odd reality. - You also find that your psychic abilities are much higher while you are within a given range of the burial mounds. - Aspects that come in handy when having to contend with the sporadic, often unpredictable behaviors of schizophrenics.
This was especially advantageous when it came to working with deaf psychotics. Contrary to the popular notion, Sign Language is not universally consistent, and individual communication skills vary greatly. Some of the deaf patients were well educated and could express their thoughts in Sign and writing with uncommon eloquence. Others were far more "low verbal", which left you second-guessing their signs and the meanings behind them.
It's when dealing with such communication variables that you find yourself subtly shifting your mind into a mode of "emergency telepathy". I came to rely on mind-to-mind as opposed to Sign-to-eye or voice-to-ear.
Through my time as a CSH employee, I carried the titles of psychiatric attendant, interpreter, and QMA ( Qualified Medication Administrator ). You can't help but develop a fondness for the patients. There comes a time when you stop seeing them as patients, and start to acknowledge them as individuals, and often even as friends.
Donald was my friend. He was an unwitting comedian. His actions, words, and facial expressions were priceless; simply hysterical! He had an innocence about him that would always cover his tracks with an unspoken, "Who, me?"
Donald was a resident at Central State long before I arrived. He spent most of his time assigned to wards in the Bolton Bldg. You could always find him somewhere on the grounds; perpetually begging money and cigarettes.- Very common patient behaviors. He had a favorite "roost" in the entrance hall of Bolton. Donald had a "signature" stance involving leaning against the wall ( right across from the elevator ) and always with his right foot placed against the wall.
He never, NEVER, got my name right. To him, my name was always "Joe". I never bothered to try to correct him. He was just too entertaining!
In 1987, my duties were that of night shift QMA for the south end of Bolton. 5 AM was a regularly prescribed medication time for some of the patients. I had to go from our first floor ward to pass some meds on Ward 28, on the second floor. When you work the night shift, the events of the day will most often escape you attention.
I keyed the elevator and saw, in the reflection of the aluminum elevator door, Donald standing behind me; leaning in his regular pose. Just as quickly, I heard him say, "Hey, Joe."
I turned to scold him for being off his ward at such an odd hour but was startled to see no one in the place where he should have been standing. "I'm tired", I rationalized to myself.
When I returned to Ward 22, I jokingly mentioned my "mind's trick playing" to my co-worker. She became very quiet, "You know they moved Donald to the Evans Building last month?"...
...You know, he died last week?"
[More to follow... To be continued in the next issue]