Believing the Unreal

Like most people you’ve probably had something unusual happen in your life now and then.  The other night I was bringing in the tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings from their afternoon introduction to the great outdoors.  I carried the first tray into the kitchen, set it under the grow light, and turned to head out for the second tray.

From the corner of my eye, through the window, I spied someone on the porch.  He appeared to be stepping toward the tray and in the process of bending down to pick it up.

“Huh,” I thought, “I didn’t hear Hubby go outside.”

So I opened the door, thinking I would make it easier for him to come in, but he wasn’t there.  I stepped out on the porch.  No Hubby, and the tray of plants was right where I’d left it.

Okay … that’s weird … what did I see?

A brief investigation into the topic of Shadow People (the first phenomenon I could think of off the top of my head that reflected this experience) helped me settle on one theory:  From the corner of my eye I saw some kind of movement, and my brain filled in the gaps by coming up with an image of Hubby getting the tray.

Now, I like a good ghost story as well as the next person, so part of me wants to argue against the rational explanation.

For instance, why would my mind conjure up Hubby getting the plants when that prospect never occurred to me?  It’s also typical that when we can’t see something clearly, our brain will usually fill in the gaps with something threatening – it would rather err on the side of danger in order to help keep us alive.

What strikes me most about this occurrence is the fact that for a few seconds, I believed something that wasn’t real.  When reality asserted itself, there could be a few ways I’d respond differently.

Instead of investigating a rational explanation, I could declare our place is haunted; or interrogate Hubby on how he accomplished bilocation; or accuse the dog of dressing like a man and gallivanting on our porch.

The alternatives do sound like interesting stories, and maybe I’ll use this experience someday in a future fictional work.  We’re a lot better off living in reality, but writing might be one constructive way to let our crazy out.  Don’t forget, reading does involve suspending your disbelief.

So what happened on my porch the other night?  Only the shadow knows….


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