By Frank Grant
In my previous articles, I have spoken about a plethora of unexplained incidents that have occurred to me since the age of 9 back in 1953 – NDE’s, CAD;s, OBE’s and other events of a spiritual nature. I spoke about my maternal grandmother being a spiritualist and trance medium running her own church in the 1920’s and 30’s. I spoke about my desire to tease and invite death to call though my wild and sometimes inappropriate wild adventures rock climbing, caving, canoeing and mountaineering. And, briefly, spoke about apparitions, visitations and discussions I have had with spirits in the flesh.
In this article, I would like to share with you two major visitations that have occurred although these are just two of the many I have experienced.
The first visitation I would like to talk, about occurred on the Caldbeck Fells on the northern edge of the English Lake District, not far from where I have lived these past 37 years. In fact, it was a few months before meeting my soul mate in 1976 who just happened to live in the nearby city of Carlisle.
I had been climbing and scrambling on some broken cliffs nearby on the sides of what is known locally, as Carrock Fell. There was not a soul around and the valley was empty except for me and a few ravens circling around lazily in the thermals that the hot weather was producing. There is a single track road that goes through the valley but there were no vehicles on it and none parked to the sides as is often the case when walkers visit the area.
Running down off the fell was a stream which became a small fast flowing river at the ford where the road crossed in a dip. It is a favorite spot for families on picnics as the children can swim and play in the many rock pools that adorn the river in and around the ford area. But as I said earlier, the valley was mine at ground level and the ravens at air level which pleased me no end.
I sat down on a grassy bank and just dropped my feet still with socks and boots on, into the cool flowing waters. I closed my eyes and started to day dream. Suddenly I sensed someone sitting beside me. I lazily opened my eyes expecting it just to be another ‘feeling’ or ‘sensation’ but was taken aback to see an elderly man sitting beside me with his feet also, complete with worn boots (no socks) dipped into the cooling stream.
He said nothing at first but just sat there with his eyes closed. I looked him over quickly and deduced immediately that he was a gentlemen of the road (a more respectful way of saying he was a tramp or as they are referred to in the USA, a hobo). His clothes were well worn, sporting more holes than a large piece of Swiss cheese. His face was weather beaten, crinkled and lined and his facial hair was grey, matted, uneven, and unkempt. Yet despite his appearance, there was no smell as you would expect from such a person and I sensed he was so at peace with himself that his appearance or circumstances mattered nothing to him at all.
I looked around for some other things he might have; a walking pole; a black plastic bin liner with his worldly goods in; a Tesco trolley that many such people of the same ilk use in the towns and cities to transport their belongings around in; but he had no baggage at all.
I decided there was enough water to go around so went back to day dreaming. I closed my eyes at which point the gentleman decided to speak. He said hello what a fine day it was, to which I agreed. I was polite so opened my own eyes to look at him when I answered. His eyes were also open and I suddenly became aware of the sparkle that he had in his hazel colored eyes which I found mesmerizing and full of life and energy. As I looked deeper into his gaze, I felt amazed at their richness of knowledge, their depth of clarity, and their all encompassing warmth they exuded in a torrent of understanding.
All of a sudden, I had an overwhelming feeling that I knew him from somewhere, but try as I did, nothing came to my mind as to where or when.
We held each others gaze and I felt totally relaxed in his company. Out of politeness, I asked him if he had come far and was he going far. His eyes narrowed a little and a smile appeared in the corners of his mouth which is when I noticed his smooth clean lips and teeth which were the opposite of the weather worn unwashed face. I felt he was looking inside of me somehow and said that he had not come far, and was not going far and that his presence was not coincidental.
I was intrigued by this statement so asked him if he could clarify it further but all he did was wear a broader smile. I then started to tell him where I had come from and what I was doing there when he interrupted me with the greatest of ease, and said that he already knew everything there was to know, but he was happy to talk a while if that was what I wanted, and that his appearance did not make me uncomfortable. I turned and said that I was very happy to sit awhile and chat about anything he wanted as my time was his and that I had no where else to be right now so was content to sit here with him paddling our booted feet in the cool refreshing mountain stream.
He turned and smiled which made my heart and spirit lift to heights I had not known for many a year, and he said in a slow well educated accent, “you know young man, if everyone took time to sit beside strangers to soak their weary feet in cold mountain water, what a lovely world it would be. Think of it, no prejudices, no contempt between individuals, a unique sense of sharing bliss through adversity, but most of all, what love would flow with the cool waters of time”.
I felt that there was no need to make any comment so I just sighed and gazed into the sparkling waters as it ran over our feet. As the water flowed effortlessly across my boots, I seemed to become hypnotized by its shiny rippling movement. Sound became non-existent and space around me became transparent. I suddenly found myself standing in a large green field which seemed to be endless. I heard a sound and turned around to find a large group of people milling around a large open sided marquee tent. I moved closer but could not understand what was being said by those standing around.
As I approached the first few people standing around talking, I was shocked to find it was old friends from my RAF days who had long since left this earthly plane to go somewhere else. There was another person there but they had their back to me slightly so I could not recall clearly who he was. I said hello to my friends but got ignored.
I became a little angry at this and said hi louder, but still they ignored me, and just as I was about to give one of them a poke, someone off to my left touched my arm gently and whispered “now is not the time, just exist in the moment”. I turned and saw Chalky White standing there in his uniform. I was speechless as I knew he had been blown to bits by a grenade in Cyprus many years before, but as nothing seemed to matter I just gave him a hug.
The cool water splashed across my face making me shudder. A sheep off to the right was bleating constantly and loudly. I sat up in the water where I must have fallen side wards when I leaned over to give Chalky (who did not really exist in the world of the living) a hug.
I climbed back onto the river bank waiting for my brain to get back on line, and my senses to be attuned to the here and now. The gentleman of the road sitting next to me said softly and slowly “life is never what it seems is it, but then you know that don’t you, just as you know the difference between life and living, death and dying”.
I turned to say something in reply but there was no one there. I was sitting on that river bank alone. I looked around the fell-side and saw no one, just sheep munching away quietly across the fell-side. No sign of any human apart from a solitary figure walking the high ridge towards the old ruins that is perched on the end of the ridge that is Carrock Fell.
I shook my head. There was no way that person on the ridge was him as no one could have gotten up there in such a very short time, unless of course, they had wings! So what then was the explanation for his sudden appearance and disappearance! I turned and sat down, and amidst the gurgling of the water as it swept across the boulders before crossing the tarmac road, I heard a voice whisper in my ear, “there is no answer, life is what life is Frankie boy”.
Such a spiritual experience, if this is what it was, has never diminished and now that I live so many years later, not so far from that very spot, I often revisit that place in the hope that whoever he was, will be there although I have long since accepted, that there is no answer, after all, life is what life is.
A few years later, I found myself in the Nepal Himalaya, climbing some obscure mountain on the Nepal/Tibetan border north of Kathmandu with some close climbing friends, one of whom was my local family doctor.
As we were climbing a long mountain trail, I found my feet were getting heavier and heavier, so much so, that I found myself walking alone as the others were way in front and had just turned a bend so they were out of view. Suddenly all became doom and gloom and the air sparkled with electricity all around me. Suddenly five dancing balls of colored lights appeared directly in front of just like I had seen many times before. I sat down on a large rock, cupped my head in my hands and felt my chest tighten to such an extent that I could hardly breathe.
A shadowy figure appeared in the distance on that lone mountain path and made its way towards me. I could not make out who it was until it got a little closer. I was speechless when I saw my father of all people. Whilst I felt I had made my peace with him as he lay dying some 15 years earlier, I was aware that we had been estranged for a similar period of time before that, in fact ever since I was a young teenager and I left home to join the military.
I was unsure what he was doing there, and what he wanted from me so I felt a little uneasy at his presence. When he got to within a few feet of me, I asked him what he wanted. I have no memory of what he said but distinctly remember having a heated discussion with him about my childhood and me cutting myself off from my family when I was aged 15. At one point, he smiled and all the hurt and pain vanished. All my childhood baggage fell away like the proverbial snow off the roof of a house in a summer heat wave, and I wondered what I had been so worked up about.
The main reason I became estranged from my father, was due to the feelings I had throughout my childhood, of always feeling unloved, unwanted and that he was so very disappointed in me as his eldest son. Of course, it did not help in retrospect, when I realize now that in my childhood, I behaved in such a way in order to upset my rather in that whatever he said not to do I went out and did it, and whenever he said I should do this or that, I always did the opposite.
Fifteen years earlier to this mountain incident, I had sat with my dying father for the fist time being alone in his company. Among the things we talked about was my early childhood and I remembered that the only thing that was in my head at that time, was the thought that of all the things I ever wanted to hear from him: that he loved and wanted me; that he was proud of me despite his disappointment in me not being a good scholar and not following in his footsteps into a military career (he always wanted me to join the Royal Navy like him, but I joined the Royal Air Force, and he did well, rising to the most senior non commissioned officer rank, whereas I never got promoted due to my radical and challenging behavior). But he died before any such words could be said or heard.
There on that mountain path in Nepal, as I looked up into his eyes, I saw a different soul standing before me. Not the disciplinarian father who always appeared to be pontificating to me about good behavior, manners and etiquette, but a man with bearing, pride and love.
He looked down at me and caught me staring at him, and said quietly and with conviction, that he always wanted a son like me and that he loved me so much but his own strict upbringing did not prepare him to be demonstrative towards me. He went on to say, that his one regret was never giving me a father/son cuddle let alone tell me that he loved me unconditionally. I stood with tears running down my cheeks and instantly embraced him tight.
As I stood there in his arms he said that he was so proud of me that words could not describe his feelings towards me – I had struggled to go to University, three times for three different qualifications, and had trained and qualified in four professional disciplines as my way of showing him, (or myself), that I was not thick or stupid, as he often said I was when a school boy because I failed every exam I ever sat (not realizing that I had dyslexia which was not heard of back in the 1950’s). He said I could do whatever I wanted with my life but had to stop punishing myself in trying to prove to him that I was not thick or stupid, I had already achieved this time and time again.
Once we had dis-embraced, we just looked at each other and I knew what love of a parent really meant. He smiled and just as I was about to ask him something, he faded then vanished. Where he stood, were the five dancing balls of light. They circled my head and I heard a voice whisper: “Live for yourself Frankie, be your own man and follow your own pathway, do what you want to do for yourself and for no one else. Your time has yet to come.”
I sat back down and wondered if it had all been a dream, or inside my head even. Either way, it was a very potent experience for me. I felt refreshed and eager to move upwards so put my rucksack on and set off to catch up with the others which I did about an hour later at base camp.
As we sat around the camp fire, we made small talk which got around to why I was lagging behind. I told Rupert, my climbing partner that I felt tired and listless so sat down not wanting to continue. He then said that at one point, he returned back down the trail to see where I was, and when he got to the crown of the hill, as he saw me talking to someone, he assumed I was ok and went back to join the porters and waited for me. I said nothing but gave a grin that would embarrass any self respecting Cheshire cat. I had my answer.
Such an experience was the day I started to live my life in earnest, when the testing and teasing death stopped, when the reckless adventure activities became a pleasure rather than a mill stone around my neck. I had been re-born thanks to my father’s visitation.
Since this incident some years ago, I have seen my father on two other occasions although on one occasion he was standing beside my maternal grand mother who was talking to me, and the other occasion he just stood in silence and smiled as I was doing a reading for a elderly woman.
I fear that after so many articles on this site, I may be coming to an end of relating tales from my 60 years of experiences for no other reason, than perhaps I should write a book about my life events wherein I could write many more similar experiences, but then again……..!
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