This paranormal event first began in February 2002 on a Saturday, and isn’t readily apparent as a ghost story. I’m not sure what to call it, but it certainly spooked me enough to still be something I think about often, especially around this time of year, near fourteen years later. Up until this very moment, only two people who are quite close to me, have heard this story.
Its one that I’ve been extremely hesitant to tell, ’cause what would people think of it and me for my thoughts on the matter? The simple answer is that I’m particularly crazy, but hope to prove somehow that I’m not at some irretrievable level. It feels like it’s time though, to bring this tale to light. And if you happen to enjoy it, read my other true ghost story for the Get Spooky Series, too.
The Mole Hill
One night, I had a really weird dream. It was super weird, but not scary in any way. In my dream, I found myself sitting in a classroom at York University, reading a book that discussed Jesus and the cross, so I figured it must have been a bible. The weird bits were that, 1. The room I found myself sitting in was tiny and especially crowded, and if you’ve ever attended YorkU, you too are probably accustomed to large halls/theatres with ample seats, or particularly spacious classrooms; 2. I’m not entirely inclined to reading the Bible. While I’m spiritual, I don’t ascribe my spirituality to any one religion, so wilfully reading the Bible isn’t something I would expect to find myself doing in a class, with a certain amount of focus.
I found myself waking up giggling and inexplicably elated, perhaps because it was an interesting dream and made me wonder what brought on such thoughts. It was so out of the norm that I found myself describing it in detail to Jay when we spoke that morning (we were dating at the time, and phoning each other multiple times each day). I remember saying, “I don’t know why I thought it was York, but it definitely was despite the room being so small; and I’ve never had any interest in religious studies, not even in Sunday school…”
I’m not sure if this dream had any conscious bearing on my decision, but with two years of University completed, and a freshly-minted college diploma in Digital Media Arts under my belt, I had decided to go back to YorkU to finish a Bachelor of Arts degree, before I’d task myself to finding that ultimate career. I had a ton of trouble trying to decide what undergrad program I wanted to study. I think I jumped through three or four different programs over a two month span of indecision, (Computer Programming/Science, Geography, a complete move to Fine Arts studies, etc), where I finally landed on enrolling in English studies sometime in July.
I chose a broad spectrum of English lit courses just before the fall sessions began, including “Comics and Cartoons” and a course based on the history of the English language, both of which were my absolute favourite courses throughout my entire study at York. And while I didn’t think of it initially, the English-history class was held in a tiny room where 30 students would loudly shove their desks together in some desperate way for all of us to tightly fit. I’m pretty sure we were breaking a fire-regulated capacity code with how our tables and chairs were all jammed into each other. Heaven forbid if you needed a washroom break in the middle of this class.
One bright and sunny, early-October day, I was tasked with reading a paragraph of a translated Anglo-Saxon poem out loud to the rest of the class (we each had to take a turn reading a paragraph of a really long poem).
I think my teacher thought I might be illiterate by the time I finished reading the final word. I was stuck, shaking in my seat, chilled, though sweaty, and my words were completely garbled as I had the largest stretch of a deja vu induced anxiety attack that I had ever encountered. All while reading about 30 words, which at the rate I was orally tripping, probably took me five minutes to do. And, I should point out, moments of deja vu don’t usually end with me in a panic.
That dream from almost a year prior; the one where I found myself in a tiny unrecognisable room, but just knew to be YorkU, the one where I read about Jesus and his cross. I was reading that exact paragraph, in the exact room, with the exact amount of students.
It was all the exact same. Not similar, but exact.
Even now, while I type this, I still have chills running up my spine and down my arms, leaving goosebumps and tiny raised-hairs in its wake. Because, to this day, I can’t explain how I saw a glimpse of my future, and that’s essentially what happened. I saw my future. How does that even happen without some sort of divine or ghostly intervention?
I ran out of that classroom the moment I could, and got on the phone with Jay, still very much shaky and so close to tears. It took me a good ten minutes to relay to him what had happened mere moments before. I even asked him if there was any chance of him remembering the dream I had way back in February, and remarkably he did, simply because of how much I had laughed on the nonsensical moment I experienced back then.
Making a Mountain
If that wasn’t enough, this story gets a bit creepier. What I didn’t know in my February dream? The title of the poem is called “Dream of the Rood,” which is an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poem written sometime between 600 and 800 AD, describing a man’s vision of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Perhaps some Edgar Alan Poe fans can relate: I was reading about someone’s dream, within a dream, and that dream-scape came true almost a year later.
I did a little research into the passage I read, because I wanted to find some meaning in this random, albeit truly long bout of deja vu. That or its proof that the Matrix is our actual reality, and I accidentally saw a bit of its future programming. On my quest for deeper meaning, I found that parts of that exact same passage I read from “The Dream of the Rood” can be found on the Ruthwell Cross, which is currently erect in the Ruthwell church, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and I have plans to visit it the moment I can find myself on Scottish soil.
A very brief story of this Ruthwell cross? It was destroyed by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for its depictions of non-Christian idols in the mid-1600s, but it was luckily not forgotten, as it would be painstakingly reassembled 200 hundred years later, though perhaps not perfectly.
Scotland happens to be home to many of my ancestors, and if Ancestry.com is right at all, that includes sharing the same familial line as (cousin) Sir Walter Raleigh, who also has a poem entitled “The Crosse of Christ”.
For someone who has questioned, “Who am I?” constantly since her early teens. Someone who defaults to saying, “I’m Scott/Irish” when asked, because its too difficult to just simply say a-mutt-with-a-long-line-of-generations-lived Canadian, while being mistaken for Asian or Italian a number of times. For someone who doesn’t have a single clue about one of her grandmother’s background, because she was adopted, but seems to take after her greatly…
This recurring theme of destruction and rebirth, from ancient poems, my personal ongoing studies, both crosses, and even right down to my DNA, all construed with bits of mistranslation, has not once been lost on me.
I feel like something has been calling me “home” to Scotland, at least since February, 2002, and someday I’ll answer.
This post is part of Geek with Style’s Get Spooky series. Subscribe to the GwS newsletter now to keep up with future installments.