During the summer of 1992, the band members packed up their vans and cars for an epic road trip. The plan was to jam, write, and make music while communing on the shores and woods of Puget Sound’s gorgeously wild Vashon Island near Seattle. I decided to road trip up to Washington for a few days on my own to visit with the band.
I was a lot wilder in those days than I am now, and I was always up for adventures. My favorite road trip ritual was to consume massive amounts of Sudafed and guzzle Snapple Ice Tea. I would then leave at night, cracked out of legal uppers and drive till the morning light appeared over the two-lane blacktop. It was so exhilarating to be one of the few drivers on the road at 4:00 in the morning. I could freely drive 90 miles an hour with my mixed tapes blaring, the Sudafed making my scalp tingle, and all the crazy thoughts I had about life flying through my mind.
On this particular trip, I made it to Seattle in about 11 hours, stopping only for gas, pee breaks, and more Sudafed. When I disembarked from the ferryboat and headed to where the band was staying, I had been up for over 36 hours. That’s what being 22 years old and a wild child is all about.
Later that night, the band had a gig at a coffee shop in Downtown Seattle. As I sat sipping a mocha and hearing my friends play great music, Songwriter Boy introduced a song he had just written about a ghost living at the house we were staying at. I startled at that news and listened closely.
It seems that throughout the week, the band had many interactions with a presence they could not see. Mostly they felt it when they were jamming or playing music, but there were other meetings with the ghost as well, always just a feeling of a presence.
The band made up a story about the ghost in the song. They felt she was a young girl that wandered in from the salty shores of Puget Sound, mesmerized by the music that she heard coming from the house. They named her Mirabelle, and she came in peace. The song that they made up for her was haunting, beautiful, and sad, and to this day, it is one of my most beloved songs from that band.
Back at the house, I went ahead with my plans to encounter the ghost. My fear enveloped me like a muzzle as I thought about going upstairs alone to meet my new friend. I am usually a brave woman. Very little phases me or shocks me, but knowing I was about to consciously and willingly engage in a spirit energy I could not see, nor understand the capabilities of said spirit, really scared me. Luckily my stubbornness and the need to encounter something greater than myself prompted me to continue, but I did not go upstairs. I wanted to wait for her to come to me.
I sat still on the floor at the base of the stairs and waited for about 5 minutes. I felt her at the top of the staircase. I then felt her coming slowly down the stairs. The energy being emitted from her was palpable and alive. I was flabbergasted but held forth. At the bottom of the stairs, she stopped right in front of me, and I felt her, just as if you yourself stood right in front of me. Her presence was so strong and real, though I saw NOTHING.
The next thing I knew, she entered into my body. I felt her presence come into me through my torso as if she walked into a doorway. She held onto my body for about a minute, clinging to it, maybe in hopes she could be corporeal again. Deep grief and sadness entered my heart and mind, and I started to cry. I was enveloped fully by her grief and sorrow. I felt her desire to be alive again; I felt her wanting a body to call her own. In all of my life, I have never had such a brief but profound experience as this. Moments later, I felt her leave my body, and she was gone. Her sadness and grief no longer mine.
I went to my friends and told them my story. I was shaken to the core of my being and unsure of how to process what had just happened. It was utterly exhilarating in many ways, and I found I wanted it again; that ultimate merging of my body with a soul that wasn’t mine.
About an hour later, I was sitting in a rocking chair, legs spread out comfortably in front of me. She came back. I felt her lean against my torso, almost as if she was trying to sit on my lap, a sad child wanting comfort from a mother that is no longer there. In my head, in a voice that’s wasn’t mine, I hear this, “Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby!” I said to my musical friends, “I think Mirabelle wants to hear music. Would you play her a lullaby?” My friends oblige, and I felt a deep calm from this lonely presence, and I understood that she was soothed because of the music. For a brief period of time within her millennia of existence, she was at peace. The song ended, and I felt her disappear. After that night, she never returned.
I often imagine her, decades later, lost in the timeless void of death, still wandering the lonely and spirit-ridden shores of Puget Sound. I imagine her searching for music to hold her to this plane of reality she misses so profoundly.