The Lady in the Window
By Morgan Gates
This is Halloween week and I do conduct a ghost tour, so allow met to depart form our usual format to with a story from an upcoming book.
As progressive as our world is today in many ways we are as insular and as narrow minded as we always have been. Science has become the dogma of our modern times, science has expanded our body of knowledge in ways that could not have been imagined a few centuries ago and remember man has walked this earth for at least two thousand centuries. Science can; however, be as rigid and unyielding as the Spanish Inquisition once was! Science allows only hard measurable fact that can be experimentally proved and anything that does not submit to this standard is burned at the stake of public opinion! A case in point is those gifted with certain intangible gifts, those who can see or sense things beyond the scope of our usual five, over the years they have been called many things; witches, mediums, psychics. These individuals have often been ridiculed because of their ability to see things invisible to others but are their claim all that fantastic really? today we know that one in 40,000 are people are born with achromatopia or total color blindness the inability to see any color their vision is effectively black and white it is a well-known and well-studied visual defect. But what if the numbers were reversed and only one in 40,000 could see color? Would those with full-color vision be considered blessed, or cursed, would they be celebrated for being gifted or punished for being different?
In truth, there have always been those among us more sensitive to the paranormal than others and just as some people’s eyes a sharper than others there are some in which the gift is exceptional! One night not too long ago a truly gifted lady took one of our tours. Now Vicksburg is a town particularly rich in spirits, a website known as the “Haunted Traveler” once called Vicksburg the most authentically haunted small town in America and with good reason, epidemics, slavery, dueling have all left their physic scars but nothing can compare with the Civil War! America has been marvelously blessed among the countries of the world, our wars have been largely fought on foreign soil and most American cities have never felt the wrath of war, but not Vicksburg, not poor Vicksburg she stood the full wrath and might of the U.S. Army and Navy, for 47 days shot and shell rained from the sky by the thousands and while little physical evidence remains today, other than huge military cemeteries and mute monuments those scars never truly heal. As we conduct our tours, we tell the stories of these men and women so long dead, who were not so different than you and I. These men and women who lived through the unimaginable horrors of this bloodiest and most personal of America’s wars, who mourned their losses buried their dead and somehow picked up the pieces and went on. We speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves, or can they? Most nights the spirits are there only in the stories we tell occasionally, they will make themselves known to our guests in some way In an image captured in a photograph, a touch, a sound, or even a smell but most nights they are happy to just watch and listen while they remain quiet and invisible to all but a gifted few! My dear wife, who has often been my assistant as we walk the darkened streets spinning our tales of long ago, is herself somewhat gifted for she often has knowledge of things -- things that I have not yet told her of! Although gifted, she is not so gifted as some but I digress. One night, not too long ago we had a very gifted lady on the tour -- sensing perhaps my wife’s own gift, she opened up to her and began pointing out the spirits she saw all around us but alas my wife’s gift was not as acute as hers and she could not see what our exceptional guest could. At one point she became very excited and pointed to second story window in a very old house, my wife looked up but could see only a darkened window and told the lady so, this guest then put her hand on my wife's shoulder and immediately a light came on in the window and she could plainly see a woman silhouetted by a yellow light such as might be cast by an antique oil lamp, the light stayed on for a moment and then went out and the window was dark the tour moved on, at the end of the tour wife my shared with me what she had seen and asked me who lived in the house? I told her I was pretty sure the house was vacant at the moment but I admitted someone might have recently moved in without my knowledge. She wanted to drive back by the house on our way home, so we did the house was dark and there was no car in the driveway, we stopped our car and we got out. I asked her to point out the window in which she had seen the light and as she pointed to the window where she had seen the light she suddenly froze, for you see not only was there no light in the window there was no window! This particular house had taken a direct hit during the Siege of Vicksburg by a huge mortar shell weighing over 200 pounds! The explosion had pretty much leveled the home to the ground and the current house had been rebuilt after the war. While I am told the house was rebuilt with the same floor plan, apparently, they omitted that particular window! Strange things happen in Haunted Vicksburg!