“Apparitions & Visitations” was perhaps one of my favorite in the collection of spiritual writing. I think it was the litany of concisely summarized moments of supernatural events that made the writing so appealing to me. Or it may just have been my love of ghost stories. Reading this essay was a lot like watching that supernatural reality show called Sightings, but having the host be Garrison Keiler, or someone else whose intellect or touch with reality isn’t debatable.
I can’t imagine that was easy write. Myers, at some point, sat down to share stories he’d heard, read about, or personally experienced. Stories that are usually quickly dismissed in our culture. Without proof, evidence, scientific research and backing, we are unlikely to admit belief in ghosts (or spirits), apparitions and visitations. Yet, Myers writes these summaries with unapologetic belief, only once giving voice to the natural doubt that arises:
Some things should be accepted for what they are. Under the rocks are the words, as Norman Maclean wrote, in his fishing memoir (139-40).
For all my years of training as a scientist and clinician, I have had experiences that I cannot explain away in a sensible fashion, and I have come to the conclusion that sensible explanations only block the gift you may receive (143).
Myers also accomplished the feat of including Bible stories as passing them off as just another account of a supernatural event, fitting in with stories about his cousin’s comforting exchange with a gray-haired, bun wearing spirit and a coed waking up to finding her grandfather’s spirit standing at the foot of her bed.
After reading Myer’s essay, I started writing down supernatural anecdotes my students have shared with me over the years. Nothing like a good essay to inspire writing. (Maybe that’s another litmus test for good spiritual writing? If it makes you want to write your own spiritual essay…)
“Apparitions & Visitations” by Paul Myers fist appeared in Portland, Autumn 2010.