Friday, 12 June 2015

Ghostly presence on a train

Crows in a treeOn a recent train journey I was chatting with someone when I became acutely aware that the person in the seat behind might be listening. It made me feel self-conscious. It wasn't a particularly embarrassing or secret conversation, just a bit personal. The seats had high backs so I couldn't look at the person behind without it being obvious what I was doing. Eventually I looked all around casually, as if searching for something. That was when I discovered that there was no one there, nor any sign that there ever had been.

Now it's possible that there HAD been someone there earlier who had gone. However, I think I would have heard them go. More importantly, I still felt the strong sense of presence right up to the point when I looked round. I haven't had this experience on a train before, where I thought there was someone sitting behind me when there wasn't. So why did I think there was someone present this time? In a word - sound. There are lots of sounds on a moving train but someone shuffling in their seat is reasonably distinctive. Except in this case I was clearly wrong.

So, once again, sound is implicated in one of my 'sense of presence' experiences. And, also again, a desire not to be seen or heard for some reason appears to be a contributory factor. It is starting to form a consistent picture, at least for my own experiences. This is the first time it's happened on public transport, though. So, a first after all!

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