In Good Spirits
I had hoped to get on the computer this evening to follow up my research at the local library, but my husband’s idiot friend Paul was coming round for dinner with some new update, App or whatever they call them. For all I know he could be a computer genius; as I am a technophobe who only knows how to Google I have no way of judging. Both men dispatched the meal quickly, eager to play with the grown up toy. I was only half listening to what Paul was saying with his mouth full.
‘I’ve really done it this time, what Houdini and Arthur Connan Doyle failed to do; you two are going to be the first to try it out. You both must know some dead people.’
‘What are you talking about Paul?’ I finally asked.
‘Ouija-App, Soulbook, Ethernet; not sure what I’m going to call it yet, that doesn’t matter, the point is it works, it’s true.’
‘What is?’ asked my husband.
‘Haven’t you been listening? I started from the premise that there is nothing out there, only electricity and the radio waves living people have broadcast. Then I formulated the search on the theory that if we did survive after death we would most likely be in a form of electrical energy, after all, don’t our brains work with electrical impulses?’
‘You are no scientist, nor a doctor’ laughed my husband.
‘That’s an advantage, my ideas are fresh and unfettered.’
‘So who did you contact?’
‘Somebody I had never heard of… all the better, I could not know anything about him.’
‘No proof that he ever existed.’
‘Yes, he told me where to find his gravestone.’
‘Another computer geek is just having you on, he was their great granddad or they looked him up on the internet.’
‘No reference to him on Wikipedia, a nobody who lived and died and left nothing behind except the epitaph.’
‘Not a very interesting person to chat to on the other side’ I said.
‘On the contrary, he had fantastic ideas when he was alive, but nobody listened to him. He has been waiting for someone like me to get in touch.’
‘Bring coffee upstairs to the computer, let’s get started.’
I felt the first misgivings. ‘Are you actually serious?’
‘There he is, my Facebook friend Nathanial.’
Indeed, there was a black and white picture of a Dickensian character.
‘People put old photos on Facebook all the time’ said my husband.
‘But the photos don’t usually write their own comment… look.’
Hello Paul, couldn’t find a better photo than this, I see you have your two cynical friends with you.
Paul tapped at the keyboard, words appeared in the comment box.
‘Give them a chance, this is all new to them.’
A reply came back straight away.
Perhaps they would like to meet the original inhabitants of this house?
A shiver went down my spine, we lived in an old house, I had been researching its history, but perhaps I could play Paul at his own game.
‘Let me type a comment.’
I tapped in ‘Yes I would, if they tell me their names and when they lived here.’
Words appeared instantly in the comments box.
Benjamin and Martha Helston, married 20th June 1876, took the lease on this house 5th July 1876, were blessed with a son Samuel James 8th September1877 and two daughters…
‘Stop, this is creepy, have you been looking at my research notes Paul?’
The writing on the screen continued, while I found the paper notes I had taken at the local library just that afternoon.
…and you can see where he marked his height on his tenth birthday – on the scullery wall where you stripped off that ghastly wallpaper recently.
My husband gasped. ‘Of course SJH, those markings prompted your interest in the history, didn’t they Love, but we haven’t shown Paul yet what we’re doing in that room…’