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Spirit Stories: In Your Own Words

An Unearthly Yet Earthly Encounter

By: Katrin MacLean

My home is on a beautiful piece of wild land that overlooks the majestic Fraser River, the longest river in British Columbia. Wildlife abounds and it is nature in all her glory. As the years go by I watch the river and have begun to feel her spirit and her force. She is all and she is one you give respect to. She can give life and she can take it. On the occasions where a life has been claimed by her the helicopters come by searching for the person.

In 1996 the river again claimed a life. I heard the helicopters late that morning and went out to the steep bank to see. The bank is so high that when the helicopters fly in their search they are level with the land. Looking down at the river I saw a man at the water's edge. He was approximately 25 years of age with shoulder length black hair and wearing a faded red shirt. I could not see his face for it was in the water though the dark skin of his hand that was floating up revealed that he was native. Sadly I realized I had found the man they were looking for and would have to notify the authorities.

Before I did call the police I went into the house and got the binoculars. I could then get a better look and tell the authorities exactly where to find him.. As I got to the fence I looked down at the river. He was still there so I climbed the fence to get a better view. Just as I did a huge bald eagle exploded from the tree in front of me. I was startled and a little puzzled for it is was almost impossible not to see the eagle right away. Somehow I had overlooked this beautiful animal and that I found extremely unusual. When I looked down at the river an even greater surprise hit me. The man was gone. I rubbed my eyes and took the binoculars to see better but he was no longer there. In both amazement and confusion I left wondering about what had just happened.

Late that afternoon the radio announced that the man they were searching for was a 54 year old Caucasian. This certainly wasn't the man that I had spotted. I was really beginning to wonder what happened that morning.

Days passed into weeks and I tried to forget about it but I couldn't for I kept sensing a presence around me. A gentle presence of love and hope and one that wanted to be recognized. It was the man I had seen in the river. He let me know that his drowning was accidental for he had fallen off the bridge. Also it had happened in the late 1950s, either 1957 or 1958. Try as I might he became impossible to ignore. Finally I told a friend of mine hoping she would not think I was crazy. Being part native she told me who to get in touch that would help me out. It took a phone call away to find that person.

She is a native woman that does river ceremonies. I told her my experience recalling every detail and the information I had received from him. There was a very long pause of silence, so long that I thought she must think I am crazy. Finally what felt like an hour of silence she told me who he was.

The man that I saw happened to be her grandmother in-law's first husband who had drowned in the late fifties. She went on to explain that in the native belief once a person dies they walk the earth for a year. When that year is up any loved ones who are predeceased will meet them and take them the rest of the way. This woman's grandmother in-law had died exactly a year before.

The woman told me to go back to where I saw him and to acknowledge him by offering him some tobacco. She also gave me specific instructions to do a ceremony in where I honoured him by offering him food. Not much though just a pinchful of everything I had made for dinner for spirits do not eat much she had said.

As soon as our conversation ended I went back to where I had seen him. As I offered the tobacco the earth rumbled and shook beneath me. I have had many spiritual encounters but this was different and it scared me. I flew over that fence faster than any horse and before I knew it was leaning against the door. Looking up at the sky and panting I said out loud "Hey, I am new at this so please stop scaring me".

The appointed hour for the ceremony came and out I went. Offering the minute amounts of food with sage and birch leaves I honoured his spirit. What happened next was incredible.

His presence seemed to be everywhere and love oozed out of everything. Every tree, every rock, every blade of grass, every bird and animal,and every atom radiated with love. I then sensed another presence and the two of them held hands and lifted. I myself felt like I was being lifted and if I had not seen the earth beneath my feet I would have said that I was 10 feet off the ground. My senses became sharper and I could see colours that I have never seen before. But more than ever it was the love that emanated out of everything which emitted a glow of unearthly beauty. I was so filled with it that I wanted to hug and kiss everything in sight and not in sight.

This experience lasted for about 5 minutes and as each second passed I was in total awe. The incredible beauty that engulfed me was not only of this world but the world beyond. The two spirits lifted higher and higher until I could no longer sense them. When they were gone the outpouring of love slowly dissipated and things when back to normal.

It was an experience that will always stay with me. These two beautiful spirits gifted me with love. A love that emanates not only from nature and earth herself but from the other side as well. Since then there are moments when I feel this love again. Though these moments are brief they are also everlasting.

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