Thursday, 10 May 2018
Face to face with a ghost
Do you believe in ghosts?
Up to a couple of days ago I did not. But now ... ... ...
Usually, in spooky stories, ghosts are found in big mansions somewhere remote, near a forest or something like it; in old windy, cold and damp castles, stately homes and the like. But not in my case.
There I was in an old boat in the North sea just off the shores of Scotland. Actually, it was more than an old boat. It was a large fishing trawler about fifty years old with a crew of about twelve people. It was night. Although the sea was relatively calm the boat was bobbing up and down, and swaying left and right, as it struggled its way through the waves. It was cold with a strong drizzle which had not yet decided to turn into proper rain.
The fishermen were all on deck preparing for a good night's work. I decided to go to my cabin and call it a night.
As I got into my bunk I tried my best to get some sleep; which was difficult with all this to and fro of the boat and the ominous creaking noises it made as it fought the icy seas and howling wind.
It was then that I felt another presence in my cabin. You know the feeling? When you are alone at home, especially at night, and you think you've heard someone walking upstairs, or that someone is in the house with you, someone is there, watching you, meaning you harm. Well, that's how it was for me. I was lying there in my bunk bed when I felt there was someone with me in the cabin. I switched on the little light by my bed and there he was ... a man sitting on the wooden chest not five feet away.
I got up quickly and hit my head on the bunk bed above me. Why do they make these contraptions so small?
He looked like, I suppose he was ... a pirate. He looked like the pirates you see in films. About six foot tall I should say, although you cannot tell when a man is sitting down. With a big red bushy beard, and an eye patch on his left eye. He did not have a wooden leg or a hook for a hand; but he did have a sword on his belt.
I believe he was a vegetarian ghost pirate because he had a carrot perched on his shoulder.
I was afraid out of my senses and I must have cried a little because I felt the tears trickling down my legs.
I did not know what to say ... or do ... It was not possible to jump out of my bunk and out of the cabin because he was sitting on the wooden trunk by the door. I must have mumbled something incoherently because he answered back.
I could not understand a word he said. He was speaking in a foreign language ... Scandinavian, or was it Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish? Or was he talking in Viking language seeing we were in those seas the Vikings used to sail many years ago. What language did the Vikings speak? He was not wearing a Viking hat like in the movies. You know, a helmet with horns on either side! But he did have long red hair.
He got annoyed that I did not respond so he spoke to me again in this foreign language; this time more menacingly.
Why is it that when Jean Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise go to various planets and galaxies they always find other species speaking proper English; and here I am, in the sea not far from Scotland and I cannot find a ghost that speaks English?
Now there's a sentence I never thought would cross my mind.
I did what we Brits always do when we are not understood abroad. I spoke very slowly and very loudly.
"WHO ARE YOU?" I asked gaining a little courage as I had stopped crying.
He must have understood me because he moved back a little sitting on the trunk and said "Gogin !!!"
"Gauguin, the painter?" I asked stupidly.
"GOGIN" he repeated angrily.
Then I followed with another stupid and somewhat obvious question, "ARE YOU A GHOST?"
Obviously, he understood me. Perhaps he learnt English when the Vikings invaded Britain.
"Gogin ghost" he repeated, calming down a little.
I pointed to my left eye and asked, "WHY YOU HAVE EYE PATCH?"
He smiled and said, "As ghost, I go through key hole and someone put in key at same time!"
I reciprocated his smile and as I did so he slowly faded away and disappeared.
I got out of my bunk and went to the sea chest on which he was sitting. I touched it to make sure he was no longer there. Had I imagined the whole thing? Was it a dream? I kicked the wooden trunk hard to make sure I was wide awake.
I got out of the cabin and when I got on deck I muttered to two fishermen mending the nets, "I ... I have just seen a ghost!"
"Oh, it must have been old Gogin," they said, "he often appears when we sail these waters!"