Monday, October 31, 2011

...he told me that when the lights went out he immediately felt like someone was standing right next to him. But, he was the only clerk on duty that night.

 Haunted History After Darks wants to give a HUGE thank you to all of our courageous guests this last week. We enjoy all your enthusiasm and insightful questions. During this Halloween season our tours have grown tremendously with the presence of both human and ghostly residents and visitors of Fort Collins.
This last week one brave ghost buster asked if the spirits are scared away by so many people coming into structures and locations where they inhabit and where we go. What we have learned from our tours and the evidence by photos is that it is quite the opposite. It seems that a congregation of humans attracts more entities and they seem to multiply in numbers according to the volume of the crowd. Local ghost whisperer and tour guide, Grace, adds that the reason people are picking up so much evidence of mists and orbs on our tours recently is because some entities may be already attached to some of the guests on our tour. And basically, they are just coming along with us. These spirits that include themselves could be family members or friends that have passed away and are already a part of that particular tour participant’s energetic circle.

Generously contributed by awesome tour guest Eileen Sake
So, orbs and mists picked up on equipment on our route doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a past historical resident that we talk about, which many are, but could also be a contemporary protective spirit surrounding a person on our tour. And with good reason! Our tours are filled with stories of the paranormal and historical events in early Old Town Fort Collins.

Many residents come to Grace and me with their own experiences and stories of the paranormal. Recently, I was at a convenience store on my route home from the tour. I mentioned to the clerk that I had noticed a day or two ago that the store was completely dark and asked if the power had gone out. The clerk behind the counter indicated that it had because of Tuesday’s storm. Then he took a deep breath and smiled and said, “Something weird happened that night.” He related to me that when the lights went out he immediately felt like someone was standing right next to him. But, he was the only clerk on duty that night. It happened at 1:30 am. He went on to say that the feeling of a presence standing over him was so intense and real and frightening that he fled the store and waited in his car for 4 hours with the engine running until a co-worker showed up for the next shift. He also mentioned that when they wash the glass door of the store there are always and inevitably small hand prints that show up near the bottom. He has no explanation.

“Dust in the Wind”. This last weekend while driving through country roads just 10 miles from Cheyenne on my way home from my regular job I heard this song by the very famous 1970’s band Kansas. I used to feel complete fear and anxiety of this particular song and would change channels immediately if it came on.  In the past, to me, it was a message of impending doom and sadness and despair and nothingness because of an event that happened to me while I was in my early twenties. In the spring of 1989, while in a little apartment in Salt Lake City, Utah near the University of Utah where I was attending school, I got a call in the early morning hours that my mother had suffered a life debilitating heart attack. I was told that she had died twice in the ambulance. That she had been brought back, but was not expected to live through the night. I was told to get on the next plane to Reno, Nevada where she was in a hospital in the ICU department, to say my goodbyes. She was only 54 years old. My entire life changed at that moment. In a bewildered fog I made arrangements. An hour after the call I got in my little yellow Toyota pick-up alone to make the trip to the airport and turned on the radio. This is the first thing I heard.

It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy.
“Now don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.
Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind. “ -Kansas
My mother a year before her heart attack

My sadness was immense.  Although I hated the words I was hearing, I continued to listen hoping to get some solace, some message from the song that would help me cope. But, it was just too despairing. My mother meant more to me than just “dust in the wind”. I turned it off.
Even though the ICU surgeons told us her heart had literally exploded, somehow miraculously my mother survived.  Whether it was the intense love for her four children, her faith in God, her passion for art, or the strength from the “good stock” she always tells her children they came from, she lived.  She now is in her 70’s and is living happily in Las Vegas, Nevada. But, her experience changed all of us forever. Even until recently though, I have had a very hard time listening to this song. Then I met Grace.
Before a tour this last week, Grace told me about a friend of hers who had recently and suddenly passed away. A man she was very close to. She was very sad and said that she had energetically connected to this man in the spirit world. She said that he was depressed when he died and kept that depression with him in the afterlife.  Grace added that he had gone to a place that was so dark that she was unfamiliar with it and asked for benign energies or angels to help get him out of that space he had created.  With help and encouragement from her, after much hesitation her friend finally made the decision to go to the “Light. “
I have listened and observed and watched so many of these stories from Grace since I’ve had the opportunity to know her. From her I know now that even in the darkest of places HOPE lives and survives and has much more strength than even our darkest depressions, fears, and anxieties. That the will of the human spirit to experience PEACE outweighs its need to continue in pain.
Now, when I have the opportunity to listen to this song, even on my long drives from my work, I celebrate what the amazing authors were so brilliantly trying to convey in these lyrics.  I know that our time here on this planet is so short and what we make here for ourselves follows us. Our physical bodies are just “dust in the wind” but our spirits live forever. The friends that we make, the positive connections  and LOVE we share here last more than a lifetime.  And it’s ever changeable. Even in the afterlife we can accept and love ourselves and others. Death is not the end.  Thanks for hanging in there Mom.
…And  thanks for hanging in there Joe Mason, and Frank Stover, and Franklin Avery and all the early residents who we will never consider “dust in the wind”.  Thank you so much to these gentle spirits who have so generously let us bring their stories  alive for our Haunted History After Dark guests.
Enjoy photos from this last week below. Thank you also to the Fort Collins Zombie Stroll participants who allowed me to photograph and blog their photos.

Check out the orb directly on top of the guest near the center and top of the photo.

Gorgeous crowd!  October 22nd.
(The guest third from left is Alice Ashmore. Alice is a celebrated Texas journalist who is most famous for covering the Baby Jessica story in the 1980's Colleen, in direct center with blue coat on, recently lost her home in the California fires. She moved to FC just a few months ago and loves it. Fort Collins loves YOU Colleen!)

Grace in a snow shower October 25th.
Front row: Treloar, Tiffany,Collin. Back row: Amy, Rhonda, Bob, Starr.
Treloar, Tiffany, Amy and Starr are from the Fort Collins museum. Rhonda is a ranger with the City of Fort Collins Natural Area. She brought along her husband Bob and son Collin.

Fun October 22nd  guests
Wendy and Jim Abbott. Jim's Fort Collins roots run deep. His ancestors ran the Commercial Bank and Trust, which is now known as the "Vault". This was the first bank started by outside investors after the boom of the Sugar Beet industry and the event of the Union Pacific Railroad coming into town. The bank replaced Emma Malaby's grocery store which was moved to Meldrum Street. Haunted History After Dark was so honored to have these guests on our tour. Suzy was so excited she would have rolled out the red carpet for the Abbotts. To her they are like royalty. Thank you so much for taking the tour.

Madame Marie! We are here! We have cash! The awesome crowd from Oct. 29th. (City of Fort Collins Natural Area ranger Norm Keally and his beautiful wife DJ are in the center.


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