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Dancing Slave Ghosts

January 2003

I have always been told, the more intense the emotion the greater possibility of a haunting. In other words, when we experience great happiness and/or profound sorrow, we emit large amounts of energy. In turn the energy stays around, trapped in organic hosts such as plaster and wood for years and years, and is eventually released, sometimes as what we refer to as ghosts.

This is a plausible theory for what I experienced several years ago. I believe it was the great happiness energy and not sorrow I felt, because I was not scared in the least. Let me begin.

I was visiting a friend whose parents live in a house which was built in the 1700's. The house had been many things; a field hospital in the Civil War and a speak-easy during prohibition. But the house is probably most famous for being the residence of a family who owned and operated a small ferry which traversed the Shenandoah River in Virginia.

According to historians of the Shenandoah Valley, the ferry owner was a kind man who, even before the Civil War began, offered his slaves freedom and lifelong jobs on the ferry if they so chose. Most took the job, worked the ferry and lived in quarters which still stand on the ferry-house property. History states that the ferry was quite busy during the War Between the States and stayed that way up until the late 1800's when a bridge was built. After the war, the freed slaves stayed close to the ferry-house, living on and working the land where their ancestors had toiled for the kindly ferry owner.

Flash ahead 140 years. The old ferry-house and the out buildings (including the slave quarters) restored. I am visiting from out-of-town. I step outside on the front porch for a smoke. It was a quiet summer night. All the trees were in full foliage which allowed no lights from the nearby highway to penetrate the property. There was no moon. As I sat on the lower porch step, I could just barely see the outline of the slave quarters, a low-set limestone building about 50 yards from the main house. Now mind you, I was smoking cigarettes, for had I been dipping into the cannabis I would have answers for what was about to happen! As I sat there it became apparent the slave quarters slowly became illuminated. Not by car headlights or the moon. Not even a powerful flashlight could create this kind of light. The building seemed to be glowing from within. A soothing blue light bathing the limestone facade from top to bottom. As I sat mesmerized, several figures caught my attention. Beginning from right to left, what appeared to be shadows moved quickly in front of the building only to disappear on the other side. This occured several times until all the figures I had been watching congregated in front of the slave quarters engaged in what looked like, a dance! Oh my God! What was this? The figures of men, women and children spinning wildly, dancing to a beat lost in history. This went on for several minutes at least. I knew I was seeing a crowd of slaves dancing and rejoicing, replayed for me from energy released so long ago. The figures became three- dimensional but cast no shadows upon the front of the building. You can only imagine what I felt. This was unbelievable! The figures began leaving one-by-one until there were none. The building was once again dark and the silence that should have been broken by the sound of laughter and stomping feet was all that remained. I sat dumbfounded at what I had just witnessed. I remember smiling, feeling a warm rush of happiness, knowing that these people were still happy and most of all, free even in death.

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