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Fourth Tourist

Ojai, California, USA
March 1997

Alittle over a year ago, my 25-year-old son took his own life. As you can imagine, this has been devastating for the entire family, as we don't have Clue 1 about why he would do this. He was always a fun loving, warmhearted person. His problems didn't seem to be worse than anyone else's, and his attitude and coping strategies usually seemed to be better than anyone else's. We miss him terribly, and often find ourselves wishing that somehow we knew that he continues on in some form somewhere, and is basically OK now. We love him, he's still family, and we always try to think forgiving thoughts toward him.

A few weeks ago my husband and I and one of our friends took the day off and went on a day trip to Ojai, a nearby town with good restaurants, interesting stores, art galleries, etc. The three of us were walking down the main street in broad daylight, maybe 3:00pm, on our way to a late lunch. Our friend had just said something extremely funny, and all three of us were laughing, hard. I happened to glance across the street and noticed our reflection in the darkened store windows all the way across the street, under a little veranda-type overhang. The reflection was of four people, not three.
I looked closer, and the fourth person was my dead son, walking with his inimitable long-legged stride, throwing his head back and laughing, just the way he used to do. His reflection was keeping up with ours, just walking, laughing, and listening. We were having just the kind of bantering conversation that he had always enjoyed.
The reflection was in full color, or, at least, the muted colors you get in any reflection in darkened glass. I tried to get my husband's attention to point this out, but suddenly found myself unable to speak, just kind of flapping my hand and clearing my throat for a few seconds. The reflection looked a little weird - it was as if the three of us were reflected on glass, but my son was reflected on water -- he looked more "ripply" than we did and there were little sparkles of light interspersed with his reflection, just like sun on water.
All the hairs stood up on my head and neck, but I wasn't really frightened, just astonished. I was actually comforted to see him, and to see him looking so happy. taking a walk with us and laughing on a sunny afternoon. Eventually, I blinked and when I opened my eyes again, he was gone. All in all, the apparition must have lasted for about 6 seconds. I debated with myself about whether to tell my husband and our friend, and decided to wait until later.

I told my husband a few days later, and he was fairly open-minded about it, saying something about how he could swear sometimes he sees him outside in the corner of his eye, or sometimes he talks to him in dreams.

Maybe this happened just because my mind is snapping and I miss our son so much that my mind "created" this apparition of him taking a day off with us. Or maybe he was really there. In any case, it was good to see him, and this is an example of a non-scary "comforting" ghost. And I hope it shows that not all ghosts of suicides are glooming around, haunting crossroads, clanking chains and scaring the shit out of people.

Ojai, California, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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