I would be very interested if anybody could shed some light on a strange incident that happened to me in Ceannt (Kent) barracks, Ireland in 1936. My father was in the Irish Army, and we were in transit quarters, waiting to move to senior rank NCOs quarters, as my father was being promoted to BQMS.
I want to make it quite clear that although I was brought up in a Catholic family, I am not now, and never have been "religious".
This happened sometime during the night. I was asleep, resting on my right side, facing a wall. I woke for some reason. I had absolutely no sense of fear, I felt aware of a "presence", a kind of grandfatherly person or somebody who was "in charge" of what was going to happen.
The room seemed to be lit up in a kind of golden pink warm light. I turned around and rested on my left elbow and saw a woman kneeling at the foot of one of my young brother's bed. She was praying and at the same time smiling. Her clasped hands were just touching her chin. The light seemed to be coming from her and radiating out.
For the life of me, I cannot imagine how I came to blurt out, "Oh, there's no hypocracy in the way she's praying!" What an odd thing for a child to think! Several other things crossed my mind after that, all of them seemed too adult for the kind of child that I was then.
The next thing I thought, I don't know if I said it aloud: "She's praying for everything, even the rocks and the trees and the rivers!" No child thinks like that! As soon as I said or thought that, this "person/being" said, "Yes, even for the rocks and the trees and the rivers!"
Then the oddest thing... into my mind came the image of a vertical bar graph that seemed to be made of old black wood, and a sort of a bracket beside it. Somehow I was "told," "This is human experience, and for a moment you are being privilaged to see here." And I seemed to be aware of being shown an area slightly above the human range.
Now, where did I get the idea of a vertical graph, or various ranges of experiences? I certainly wasn't bright nor religious-minded nor over imaginative.
Another odd thing: If that lady had been kneeling by my older brother's bed, I might have been able to rationalize it in my mind by thinking, It's because he used to suffer from asthma, and I always worried about him. But no, it was by my younger brother's bed, and he and I never got on, and don't today.
I have spent a lifetime wondering about this incident, and if it was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. Why did I not see a ghost? A banshee? Flash Gordon? Buck Rogers? These are the things that live in a boy's mind, not strangely dressed women praying by an unpleasant brother's bed!
Many more thoughts and pictures came into my mind before this incident came to an end. All of them were far too adult for the boy that I was. It was as if my mind was being "illuminated," and I realised that absolutely everything was interconnected, and everything and everybody was incredibly important.
I stayed resting on my elbow until it began to pain, so I suppose it must have been ten minutes or more, then I turned back to the wall to go to sleep, as if the whole thing was quite routine. But I cannot begin to put into words the feeling of utter security, peace, safety, and love that I felt at that moment. It was like being tucked in by a million angels or a million mothers.
Anyway, to sleep, and came the dawn, I woke. The room was gray and ordinary. I turned around and the room was as it should be: my two brothers asleep, and a feeling of the most overwhelming sense of loss hit me. It seemed as if somebody put their fist right into my stomagh and twisted it. I don't feel that pain now, but I did for many years. As I felt that pain, the "person" said in my mind, "Don't worry, you'll see her again!"
Can anybody make any sense of that? Did I imagine it? Did I dream it? Did I tell myself a lie and eventually believe it? My mother and I did discuss this incident a few times when she was still alive, and she said that she remembers me telling it to her, and she felt that at least she believed that I thought it really happened.
There is more to this than I have written. If anybody reading this can offer some common sense explanation, I would be very pleased to hear from you.
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