My resident house-ghost, Joe, re-appeared in my back hallway a few days ago, after being gone again. Backstory: Joe came to my house for the first time several months ago, and he and I struck a deal whereby he would bring Earth-bound spirits to me, and I would use my psychic abilities to help those spirits ascend (read “My Ghost Joe”). The first group he brought included 17 troubled souls, which took me several days to sort out and help ascend (read “My Ghost Joe and the Impatient Horde”). The second group was rougher, with more unfinished business and chips on shoulders, and included eight souls (read “He’s BAAACK!”). With this group being much more difficult to help than the last, it should not have surprised me that the third group Joe brought to me was four suicides (read “The Suicides”). And now Joe is back. And who has he brought this time? The man who killed him.
Well, that knocked the wind out of my lungs.
I sometimes wonder if there are those of you out there who don’t know my character, don’t know that I am honest almost to the point of obnoxious with the truth, and who would question the validity of the tales I tell. But I swear to you that if I were to make up stories for this blog, they wouldn’t be nearly this interesting.
So I met the spirit of the man who killed my man Joe. And I set about helping him. I have never worked with the spirit of a murderer, and was not sure what to expect or where to begin. He said to call him Buck, but Joe corrected him and said his name was Billy. I tried to get a sense of him, and the term “gunslinger” came to mind.
He wasn’t much for talking, so I decided to begin with a speech of my own, resplendent with hard truths: that he needed to take responsibility for what he had done, and be prepared to pay a price for it. I told him that an evolved human does not run around killing people, and that in his next life, he would probably face difficulties that he would rather not face. I told him that the urge to kill and to solve problems with a gun needed to get ground out of him, in order for his spirit to evolve. I told him that killing other people is not what we are born to.
This made him uncomfortable, but he listened. I asked how many people he killed, and he said three — two men and a woman. He then reluctantly volunteered his story: that he was raised around guns, and his father taught him to shoot at a very young age. His father liked to hunt, and took his son hunting for the first time when Billy was about five or six, and expected him to kill. As Billy put it, “I was just dropped into it.” And he did, in fact, kill his first deer on his first hunting trip, despite his age. “I was taught that it was okay to kill whatever you wanted to. Like everybody did it.” Billy was just 19 when he killed a man for the first time.
He was 25 when he killed the woman (a former girlfriend), and said he felt kinda bad about that one. But he went on to kill Joe when he was 32. He and Joe had known each other for a couple of years and went hunting together. It was on one of these hunting trips that he shot and killed Joe, claimed it was an accident, and got away with it, because there weren’t witnesses, and nobody knew he killed the other two people.
I asked how he felt about that now, and he said, “Fine,” but he looked at the floor when he said it, which indicated guilt to me. He also seemed agitated, and his energy became hard to read. I kept hearing the name Mike, but it took some time to figure out why.
Mike was a mutual friend of Joe and Billy’s, and was with them on the hunting trip. Mike said something to Billy that set Billy off. Mike tried to calm him down, and tried to get him to talk to Joe, since whatever Mike had told Billy concerned Joe. I got the sense that Joe was upset about something Billy had said or done, and had told Mike. Joe knew how hot-headed Billy could be, so planned to just let the whole thing blow over. But Mike decided to say something because he didn’t think Joe should have to put up with Billy’s crap, and he felt that Billy should own up to whatever he had said or done and apologize.
Mike thought he had succeeded in getting Billy to calm down, and he left, believing that if the two men spent some time alone together, they could and would work everything out. But as soon as Mike left, Billy’s anger boiled. Joe did not know that Mike had spoken to Billy, so he went on hunting, completely unaware of the rising danger.
Billy kept thinking, “Well, I can take care of this. I can cap Joe right now. That’ll settle this argument once and for all.” And then he did. He shot Joe in the back of the head. Joe fell face-first into the dirt, and Billy got in his truck and drove away. He wasn’t going to say or do anything about the shooting, but decided on his way home that he should call the cops himself, or it would look bad when some other hunter found the body. He practiced sounding upset, and made the call when he got home. He was questioned by police, but they bought his story that it was an accident.
Billy was not what I would call mentally stable, and went more than a bit nuts after the murder, I think in large part because Joe’s spirit hung around and haunted him. Despite this, Billy never re-considered his actions that day, and stayed locked into thinking that the shooting was justified.
Joe spoke up at this point and made demands: he wanted Billy to admit that the shooting was completely unprovoked and completely UN-justified.
I asked Billy if he saw things differently now that he was dead, and he replied, “Yeah, kinda.” I asked him to elaborate, and he said, “Joe was a good friend. And a good guy. At least, until he was dead and driving me crazy. But I guess I deserved that for what I did.” I asked if he could and would give Joe what he wanted, and he said, “Yeah. Joe, I’m sorry for what I did. I guess I did miss you after you were gone, even though I never cried. You were a good guy who did good things for people and all those people suffered after you were gone. I see that now. I’m sorry I killed you. I’m sorry I left you in the field like that. Sorry I never told your ma the truth. She was nice to me and shouldn’t have been. She kept inviting me over and stuff. I ate her food and I shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have taken even a cracker from her, let alone dinners. I’m sorry. I’m actually sorry.”
Joe was outraged, and yelled, “We were friends! How could you do that to me?” To which Billy replied, “I was mad.” “That’s not a reason,” Joe said. “It was for me. ‘Cuz of how I was raised,” Billy replied. “Well, you were raised wrong then,” Joe said. “Yeah, I can see that now,” Billy agreed.
I left them for a few minutes to talk, re-iterating to Billy that he needed to take responsibility for what he had done, forgive himself for doing it, and commit himself to never doing such a thing ever again. I heard them talking, and when I came back to them, Joe said, “We worked it out.”
And I could see that they had. I opened a portal to the other side and asked Billy if he had any parting words. “Thanks dude,” he said to Joe. He went willingly enough, but his ascension was not entirely smooth. He went up like a rocket that hit turbulence, and his journey dragged on much longer than every other ascension I have witnessed, like he needed an extra-long car wash to be scrubbed clean.
Once Billy was safely ascended, I turned to Joe, “Are you ready to go now?” He thought for a long minute and replied, “Yeah, I guess so. I’ve done my penance for haunting Billy and driving him nuts, with these spirits I helped.” I asked if there was anything else I needed to know and he said, “I had a good life. I was happy and good. I forgot that. Thank you for helping me remember the good.”
I don’t usually do this, but I hugged him, and stood in his energy. And I thanked him for everything, and wished him every happiness in the universe. I stood back, opened a portal for him, and up he went like a comet. From the other side, he exclaimed, “That felt great!” And he said that if I called, he would come, and meet me in the borderlands.