A strange thing happened one day last week. To get the true picture you need a description of my stove in my kitchen: just your basic old fashioned four-eye stove with an oven underneath. On my stove top I keep one of those scented candles in a jar. I've noticed that when I use the oven the heat will melt the wax and give off a fragrant smell (in this case, blueberry) - and this without lighting my candle. It has lasted for many years this way. Finally, my favorite pot holder sits in the center, safely away from the eyes.
One day last week I came home from work to find my candle moved out of its place on the back of the stove top and now turned face down on my potholder in the center. Of course I was shocked. It looked so deliberate.
The only other person who has a key to my home is my mom, and she wouldn't come over without telling me. And if she had I doubted she would turn a candle upside on my stove in lieu of a calling card or note! Also dismissed out of hand was the idea that someone might have broken in without leaving a trace of entry, turn over the candle, and then leave without doing anything else or taking anything.
I thought it was the weirdest thing, but went on with my evening. I remembered many years ago reading a book by the late Bishop James Pike, whose son had committed suicide, telling of finding clues (like a couple of safety pins configured in the clock position of the time his son died) around his apartment that indicated to him his son was trying to communicate with him from the Great Beyond.
Was this an attempted communication from one of my loved ones no longer a part of this world?
That was a solution I couldn't seriously entertain, so I went about thinking how this strange thing might have happened naturally rather than supernaturally.
My daily custom is to take my insulated lunch bag and load it up with drinks and snacks for my work day just before I leave for work. I use my stove top for this task because it sits right beside my refrigerator. Was it possible I might have inadvertently hooked the strap of my lunch bag around the candle and flipped it over as I pulled my bag off the stove in my haste to get on the road? I wondered.
I did set up this experiment and duplicated the upturned candle on the pot holder (perfectly centered, no less!) on the very first try. Mystery solved.
There resides in my mind no firm belief in postmortem survival, but I am open to be convinced. One big reason for my lack of belief is that none of my loved ones, my beloved father or older brother, or my former lover/friend Pam who died a year ago this very month, have returned to me (other than dreams, which I don't consider evidence of survival).
With all due respect to Bishop Pike and many, many others who see signs of hauntings so readily and in so many things, I myself need a better example. Don't call Ghost Hunters yet!