The 8th Gate

The 8th Gate

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Are some people more attuned to the nether world and lost spirits? Is it because they believe that such things really do exist?

John Charles is a believer. He has had his share of spirit encounters for nearly 72 years. One of his most vivid encounters transpired when he was fifteen years old in 1935. He and his family resided in the house on Fairfield Ave. in Bridgeport, Connecticut for a total of ten years. John was five years old when the family moved into the house. From the very first day of occupancy, the family was serenaded each night just before midnight by a disembodied yet beautifully soulful female voice singing “Rock-A-By-Baby.” Since John and his siblings were at such a young and impressionable age, the voice was explained away as the spirit of a former resident who had sadly lost her child. Since the spirit presented no attempts at harm, all in the family grew tolerant of the nightly serenade or simply ignored it.

8g02.jpgThe basement of the house was strictly used for storage (mostly for gardening equipment) and floral supplies used by John’s father in his florist business. An odd feature of the basement was that it had a swing which hung from the beams which was left behind by one of the former occupants of the house. John and his younger siblings used the swing but it was John who enjoyed it the most and used it more often than the others over the years.

One day, John went down into the basement carrying supplies for his father that needed to be stored. Halfway down the stairs he heard movement and thought perhaps that his father was in the basement moving storage boxes but, it soon occurred to him that the swishing sound he heard accompanied by the low creaking sound of the beams was actually the swing in motion. When John reached the bottom of the stairs he fully expected to see his younger brother fooling around but, what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks.

On the swing sat a young boy about the age of five. He wore brown knickers and a buttoned up white shirt and brown shoes. His hair was brown and his eyes appeared to be hazel. He was expressionless and merely sat there swinging to and fro oblivious of John’s presence. John’s rational mind quickly kicked in and his first thought was that it was one of the neighborhood children but, several seconds later, he realized that there were no children on the street matching the description of the boy. Furthermore, there was no way the child could have accessed the basement from the outside since the outside basement doors were always kept locked because of his father’s strict rules about safety regarding garden equipment. John’s mother and siblings were home and surely would have noticed the boy had he come into the house from the upstairs level. John was frozen on the spot for several minutes while the boy continued to swing back and forth ever oblivious to anyone or anything else in the environment.

When John’s psychological fight/flight response finally took hold he dropped the garden supplies and bolted up the stairs to find his mother. Breathlessly he told his mother about the boy on the swing and although she thought he might be playing a trick she went into the basement to investigate. There was no sign of the boy to be found and the only evidence of the entire episode was a slight rocking of the swing as if someone had just gotten off it. John’s mother told him to finish storing the supplies and to stay upstairs for the rest of the day. John obliged his mother but noticed by her expression that she had something on her mind. It was almost as if she knew something but had no intentions of talking about it. Later that evening after John’s father came home and the children were sent to bed, he could hear his mother and father talking in low voices in the kitchen about how they intended to handle the matter.

8g03.jpgA few days later the parish priest came out to the house. The children were told to go and play outside while the priest blessed the house. John, feeling he was old enough to hear what was being said, decided to eavesdrop a bit under an open window. He caught bits and pieces of conversation - the term ‘full fledged manifestation’ and his mother lamenting, “The poor woman… it is such a terrible thing to be pre-deceased by a child…”

Later that evening, the family settled in - all expecting to get a good night’s sleep without the lullaby but that was not the case. Right on schedule, just before midnight, the concert began and resonated throughout the second floor. What could usually be ignored now caused anxiety because the family felt that the priest’s blessing would dispense the supernatural serenade. There was some worry that perhaps the blessing might have stirred up a stronger paranormal current and more manifestation but nothing else occurred.

8g04.jpgJohn continued to see the boy on the swing on occasion. His mother finally relented and told him what she knew about the sad songstress and the little boy. They were mother and child and both had died of consumption. The boy was an only child and was doted on by his mother who had made him her reason for living. The swing had been mounted in the basement so the boy could enjoy himself even when the weather didn’t permit going outdoors. The boy died before his mother which devastated her and added to her deteriorating health. After his death she would sit in his bedroom cradling his toys and singing him the lullaby until she herself passed on. Eventually John and his family moved out of the house and an acquaintance of the family took residence. Nothing more was ever said about ghostly songs or about activity in the basement.

What might paranormal specialists conclude about these events? Spirits or specters will often appear to the living when they resonate with them on an energetic level. Each can literally “see” and sometimes “hear” the other. In some cases such as this, the spirits make their audio and visual presence known possibly because they need help crossing over. The blessing of the house was not enough to stir them and encourage them into the shift and in some regards because they were not malevolent, might have made them feel more comfortable in their current state.

Today John Charles is 87 years old and still has a vivid recollection of this experience and many other personal supernatural encounters. With his permission this tale has been retold.