As any person in my shoes would be, I have been quite curious lately about "Argo." I find myself thinking about it often & wishing I could know more about his past. A day or two ago, I realized that Argo was not even the spirit's name as I had first suspected-- his name was Lee Thomas. Argo was his ex-wife's last name. Lee Thomas died in a car crash when he was just twenty eight years old & the house that we live in was his favorite place. I can't imagine how hard this would be! You leave out in the morning with no idea that it will be your last time seeing home, your last time seeing your children, & your very last day alive. I wonder what he would have done differently had he known he was going to die?
Today while we were getting the car washed, I pulled my cell phone out & started playing around on Facebook. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am notorious for non-stop status updates! I was in the middle of a keying in a needless update about nothing in particular when a message came into my inbox. It was from Lee Thomas' daughter! She wanted me to call her & listed her number below. I was stunned. Part of me wanted to call her right away & part of me wanted to forget that I had even seen the message. Was I ready for this?
I was torn & still am. A big part of me wants to believe that people either go to Heaven or Hell upon passing & that there are no other possible explanations... The Southern Baptist Girl in me agrees with that 100%! But there is another part of me that feels that this man's soul was trapped on earth because of the sudden nature of his passing & was reaching out for help in resolving his issues so that he could take his rightful place in eternity. This is something that I have been praying about & something that I still do not have answers for. I believe the Bible, don't get me wrong, but I can't help but wonder if there are certain things that are not quite so black & white/cut & dry. Another theory could be that perhaps instead of the Spirits in our home being a demon impersonating him, maybe it is an angel depicting him in order to bring about a positive outcome? I have found it difficult to marry the two theories, but somehow feel that they have the ability to coexist (this coming from the girl who believes that both creationism & evolution mingle together to equal the beginning of the world).
I dialed the number, listened nervously as the phone rang, & almost hung up twice. It wasn't long until her husband answered & summoned her to the phone from across the house. I spoke with Lee Thomas' daughter for a few minutes & somehow (I still don't exactly know how this came about) I agreed to let her come over & talk. I had no idea what would come of it & no clue what I expected to learn, but what I did know was that I had just set up a meeting with my "ghost's" daughter.
Once we got home, I began to tidy up the house. I knew his daughter had spent a significant part of her childhood here & wanted to make a good impression. I called my contacts from last weekend's investigation here & asked if there was anything I should know or do or avoid. In my head an ingenious plan formed-- I was going to ask her about his life, his death, his unfinished business, & I was going to solve it all today! Case closed, questions answered, put to rest. I searched her Facebook page for any clues that would help me find some direction in the kinds of questions that I should ask. I stumbled upon a picture of their family... A classic portrait with Lee Thomas right in the middle. I stared at his face & felt as if I had seen him before. I know I never met him while he was alive, but somehow he was familiar to me. Too familiar. I picked up my phone & called his daughter back. I wanted to cancel, but asked her to reschedule instead. I couldn't do this today. I was not ready. Ghosts don't exist, only demons & angels. What had I done? Cancelling was not an option, she had already called her Mother & arranged to come to her childhood home. Her Mother-- the one he was beckoning through my cell phone. The one he asked for by name.
My husband had not been home from work long before I broke the news to him of our immanent visitors. He shook his head & if life had closed captioning I was sure I would have seen a stream of obscenities. Again, I wondered what I had done. Nervously I sat & watched American Pickers, wishing I could just spend the afternoon laughing as Frank & Mike explore dusty corners of neglected barns. I shivered & realized that I had forgotten to make the list of questions that was supposed to save the day. I rummaged through a storage ottoman in the living room & found a spiral bound notebook. I was going to sit them down & interview them. This was going to be the key to banishing the question mark from my list of most commonly used punctuation marks forever! This was going to put my demons, ghosts, & fears to rest.
I waved my pen above the paper in the shape of words, but nothing came out. My phone rang & I set the empty notebook aside. It was her. She was almost here. THEY were almost here. It was time. I told her she could pull around back to park & she kind of laughed & said that she knew. I went to the door & waited. I kind of hem hawed around & talked to the outdoor cats that I usually go out of my way to ignore... There was no getting out of this.
I was met with timid hellos, introductions, & explanations of why they had wanted so badly to come. Mrs. Argo stood at her car & they explained that she was still a bit shaken up. I asked if it was the house that was making her uneasy & they told me that there was a history here & an apprehension that came with being asked for by name after all these years. After much persuasion, she agreed to come inside.
It didn't take long for me to realize that we were veering off of my imaginary "script." Thanks to my empty notebook, I was ill-prepared & let them take charge of the direction that things would go. I nervously showed them around a little bit & we chit chatted about the changes that the house had undergone since she had lived there a decade & a half ago. I tried to imagine the layout of the house through her 10 year old eyes as I guided them to the bathroom where I had experienced my first paranormal occurrence. For lack of anything else to say, I went into my "Shower Scene" spill... I explained the static & recalled the details like a guide on a cheesy ghost tour. They asked if they could hold my phone to see if he would text them & I handed it over. Nothing happened.
We headed through the rest of the house & discussed which rooms had been different before it had been remodeled. I took them into our bedroom & felt for sure that they would sense his presence there. I wanted them to. I could tell that his daughter was in search of something, I just didn't know what. We all stood in my bedroom & I showed them where the portal had been. Not that they were interested in portals... They were here for one thing that I obviously couldn't give them.
Feeling a bit defeated, we emerged from the bedroom & headed down the hall. We talked about the voice that the boys had heard saying "Get over here," & she explained that her Daddy had always been stern with little kids. Maybe that had been him too. I talked to her a bit about why she had come & she told me that she has been searching for her Daddy ever since he died. She too experiences paranormal activity & has always waited for the day that it would be him. I can only imagine that when she got wind of me & my blog & of Argo that she probably felt like her search was almost over.
We headed downstairs & said our goodbyes. I told his daughter that I had prayed for her Daddy & that if there is such a thing as trapped souls that I had prayed for him to follow the light. She thanked me for letting her come & gave me a hug. Although we had just met only minutes before, I looked in her eyes & knew that she understood what I had been going through.
Just before closing the door behind them, I remembered the man's voice that had been singing away in the shower this morning... "Hey, did your Daddy like country music?" I asked.
"He sure did!" She smiled & headed out into the cold afternoon air.
When I started typing this blog post earlier tonight, I had no idea that it would be my last. I feel like this is as good a place to stop as any. It all began with a shower scene & it only seems fitting that it ends with one. I know a lot of questions came from this experience & you may wonder how I can consider it over with such little closure, but for some reason I realize that I have said all that I can say. I have asked more questions than there will ever be answers for. I have opened a can of worms that has tested my religious views about demons, ghosts, & angels. I have come full circle from the girl who would lie in bed in fear to the girl who was able to pray & sing her way through the darkest of nights. I rediscovered my love of writing & found my voice again. I watched a girl who has searched & searched for her Father almost find him. I learned that no matter how skeptical the husband may be that he will be there to hold onto when I need him most. I proved that non-fiction has the potential to be just as riveting as fiction. I learned that no matter how many times I type the word occurrence that I will still spell it wrong. I learned that just like the snow that my brush with the paranormal has been cold, but temporary, & that it doesn't have to define me. I realized that I now have the tools to do this on my on. And perhaps the most important lesson that I have learned is that although it may be haunted, that as long as it is filled with love & happy memories that it can still be home sweet home to me.
Again as I ponder the history of this house, I can't help but ponder the future as well. This charming house in a town that not many people have ever heard of has everything you could want & more. It has space, it has nooks & crannies, & it even has a sink in the hall. Some people call it haunted, but I just call it home.
I can truly say TO BE CONTINUED, AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, & THE END all in one sentence because I know that they all ring true in their own special way.