The second occurrence involves (a classic visage) a ghost. I was browsing at a bookstore in the town of New Hope Pa. Searching for haunted house stories. Must have been 1980. I was searching for a particular volume, scanning the shelves. As I turned down another aisle, a man caught my attention. When I glanced his way what I saw wasn’t a sharp image. Blinked my eyes and he cleared up a bit. He wore the uniform of a British Soldier, circa late 1700’s. His hair appeared reddish in color, his eyes dark, hidden in shadows that obscured his features. As I stepped in his direction, noticed a musket on his shoulder.
Just stood rigid for a spell, trying to decide on a course of action. Thoughts whirling in my brain, but no conclusive strategy emerged. I started to speak, ask a question. As I fumbled to grasp the significance he disappeared. Not all at once, like poof. But as a gradual departure of lines and angles, until all that remained was an after image of his outline, followed by a jolt of vertigo.
When I felt able, sprinted to the end of the aisle where I last saw this memorable outline. Not a remnant of the visage remained. With grim determination I approached the counter at the front of the eclectic book shop. A middle aged women of comely stock welcomed my question to show knowledge and follow protocol.
“The actor I just saw come around the corner.” I informed the capable employee. “Where’d he go?” She gave me a bewildered cautious look; that changed to macabre merriment.
“Oh, you’ve met Red Jack, was he standing in full gear over here?” She pointed to the top of the row I’d just vacated. “Funny only some of you catch sight of the scoundrel. He bothers the hell out of the staff.”
“What? Who is he?” I managed to ask, already knowing for sure what he wasn’t. Alive.
“We call him old Red Coat Jack, although he still looks rather young, don’t you think? A remnant of this area if you will.” She clarified with a quick smile. Not a happy fella. Is that your impression?”
“Well, I didn’t really get a good look. But yes, he wasn’t smiling if I recall.” The woman behind the counter nodded her head in the affirmative. A scrap of concern crossed her face. Don’t let it ruin your day. Think of yourself as the lucky one, she sang out, hands on well curved hips. This should make your day!
While I considered that. A voice from behind me asked the eternal question.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Huh,” was my eloquent response.
“Thought I saw someone I knew, must have been mistaken”