In 2020, with a global health crisis, the world went into lockdown. Even in times like this however, the human spirit persists and so do our stories, folktales and modern mythologies.
Though many of the churches were rightfully closing their doors, those who had never had altars at home promptly began table shopping online. Prayers were diligently lifted up for healthcare workers and those afflicted. Some people lost their faith, changed their faith, or gained their faith. In other words, the wheels of religiosity kept on spinning. Good ol’ fashioned superstition didn’t stop either, in times of worry it seems; it often strengthens. Charms and amulets of protection certainly came in handy for the anxious and the crafty.
Our folklore creatures could never abandon us, as folks still found time to hike in isolation and report sasquatch sightings to the internet no problem in the aftermath. Those looking wearily out their window could still be dazzled by the spectacle of marvelously unexplained lights dancing in the night sky. At a time of alienation, you can imagine the skies were being watched and perhaps watching back. Even magicians and occultists still did rituals solo or donned their face masks and ceremonial robes standing six feet apart. Probably a lot of healing or health rituals I’d bet.
With a lot of time indoors staring at the walls, I’m sure many people grew frustratingly familiar with the layout of their rooms, as their rustic wooden “home sweet home” sign mocked them. The stranded feeling of loneliness sank in more with each day. Though one thing seemed to become strangely commonplace. With more time spent inside, many citizens began to notice something peculiar about the residence they were stuck in. The light flickering on and off in the distance could mean only one thing they thought – they were quarantined in a haunted house. A strange twist of fate indeed.
Sometimes we think we are alone, but are we really?
The Spooky Turning Knob:
This first one happened to yours truly. The morning after Easter, on April 13th 2020, I awoke at 2AM to someone pushing on my bedroom door, turning the door knob and failing to open it. Suddenly, in an instance, it stopped. When I got up and opened the door, no one was actually there. This is what some might call “poltergeist activity.”
I spent the next few months trying to convince myself that it didn’t happen. Perhaps this was my subconscious or something acting on it trying to open the door after being locked inside the house for so long. Perhaps it wasn’t something wanting in, but me wanting out. “Was it a message of some kind?” I thought. In my view, houses aren’t haunted – humanity is.
One question I have: Why couldn’t they open it? I’d gladly interact with whatever was trying to get in, though sleeping with my door open the following nights didn’t facilitated that meeting unfortunately. And yes, that was my reaction, to try to leave the door open for them next time. If that’s not paranormal dedication, I don’t know what is.
A Woman In White 2020:
A correspondent in the Appalachian Oddity Discord server who has their own project, Spooky Appalachia, also shared their 2020 shutdown story. He was driving very early one morning to reboot a server at his workplace, the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant WV of all places, when he reportedly witnessed a lady in white walking into a park and vanishing before his very eyes. I quote with permission:
“During the COVID lockdown, there was an emergency at work that I had to drive in for. Because I had been working from home, I had not been out in a while. While driving, I never saw a single car, likely because of the lockdown. Then in the corner of my eye, I saw a woman in a paper-thin-looking dress walking down the street into Bisset Park. I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s odd.’
It was cold and still dark outside, so a woman in a thin dress with no jacket did not make much sense. After she walked into the park, she vanished. I could still see further ahead of where she had been, and there was no trace of her. I kept driving, and later it dawned on me that I should have gotten my phone out and recorded it. It would have been a cool thing to capture.”
With empty streets and not a car or person in sight, perhaps it fell to the inhuman inhabitants of our world to pick up the slack and fill in what was missing. Perhaps simply those expecting company will find it even if all the usual people are gone. When all the humans have disappeared, maybe only the ghosts, sasquatch and UFOs will remain. As the 2020 meme goes, nature is healing.
But then again, if we go, who will be there to witness them? If a spooky ghost is spooky and no one is there to be spooked by it – is it even spooky? In my wacky worldview, if these things exist, they utilize our minds in order to manifest as apparitions. The way I see it, our relationship with the paranormal is symbiotic; meaning they need us to talk to and influence. To some degree it seems, we need them too or at least enjoy their company.
This was not my correspondent’s first possible paranormal experience. He also reportedly had a UFO sighting in 4th grade, which his entire class and teacher supposedly saw and couldn’t explain, as well as a classic “shadow person” sleep paralysis experience.
A 2020 Doppelganger:
Another correspondent of the Appalachian Oddity Discord server, C. Jones shared an even stranger lockdown tale. She said some time in mid 2020, she almost ran face first into a version of herself from 5 minutes earlier. The story is a very peculiar doppelganger case.
“I was fully awake and had just showered and got dressed for work. I was on my way back to the bathroom to fix my hair and brush my teeth and as I stepped into the hallway, literally ME – I stepped out of the bathroom,” she wrote.
Jones said she almost ran directly into herself and was so frightened by the doppelganger she screamed and jumped back enough to hit the wall behind her.
“The copy of myself was wrapped in a towel like I had been just a few minutes before. The copy of me disappeared as quickly as it appeared,” she continued, “the whole interaction [only] lasted about a second or two.“
For those stuck inside alone for 2020, all they had was themselves. This instance is perhaps taking that to an extreme. Much could be said about an encounter with the self, perhaps even the inner self, true self, or the subconscious. The idea of a supposed “time slip” here is a whole can of worms as well, with the apparition seemingly being a version of her from moments before.
Doppelganger sightings are indeed a fascinating subject and for me personally I find them a bit more intriguing than the dime a dozen poltergeist cases. There is something very uncanny and eerie about it. Maybe a reminder that spirit manifestations are partly us or our minds all along and can play any role including our doubles in death and in life. Bringing us to say: I have seen the ghost and the ghost is me.
In October of 2020, the illusions continued for me. I saw a white orb of light shoot across the room above me when I entered the bathroom. I ducked then stood back up when I saw nothing was there. Also knocking on the outside of the home in the morning and night.
While using a spirit board, I supposedly made contact with a being named “Hawthorn” and the tripod I was using to record the session was mysteriously kicked. Hawthorn wood has a whole host of mythological significance. Hawthorn trees are reportedly connected to fairies in folklore and signify an entrance to the Otherworld. Just another character in the cast of peculiar spirits that year.
Yet not everything was confined to 2020 of course. Oddness continued throughout 2021 both on the world stage and in the realm of the spiritual. On May 8th 2021, I turned around to find my door inexplicably open. It seems whatever it was managed to open it that time. On the morning of June 2nd 2021, I walked by an empty room only to hear a sudden startled gasp. Apparently now I’m scaring the ghosts.
I wonder how many people during lockdown came to the sudden discovery that they supposedly had some form of extrasensory perception (ESP). Ideas of PK and associated phenomena come to mind when we think of periods of high stress including the historical moment we found ourselves in at the start of the decade.
Things like this have happened before and will happen again. I’m reminded of these health crisis times in the history of magic and in the lives of people like Nostradamus. I think about that great 1947 absurdist book written by Albert Camus that covers this very topic and its dark cyclical nature. We live through history every day, and history can be hard, brutal and unforgiving.
Human beings are storytelling animals and we will narrativize everything. It makes perfect sense for us to preoccupy our minds, to find a story even in an empty room during our ordeal. The 2020 lockdowns were something the world collectively went through together. It effected the psyche of people of every nation. It had its effect on politics, culture, religion and spirituality.
For a moment we all became monastics. People discovered things about themselves while isolated from the world as well as things about god and the spiritual. It was a time for social change as well and progress in the ongoing struggle for civil rights and labor rights. Truly a dark night of the soul. A moment of introspection. Like a butterfly that cocoons itself for its metamorphosis.
Its legacy is cemented and I think humanity will see the long-lasting effects of this experience for years to come. We will think back to these times and remember those days when all we had were the ghosts haunting our homes to keep us company. At least we have a lifelong friend in the paranormal that will be there through thick and thin.
If you’ve experienced anomalous phenomena,
please contact me via my email: AppalachianOddity@Gmail.com
Testimony (6/30/22) via text from Spooky Appalachia.
Testimony (9/29/22) via text from C. Jones.