Occupation: construction worker
Residence: Syracuse, NY
Date of Performance/Collection: October 22, 2020
Primary Language: English
I am interviewing my uncle, who had a son (my cousin) that died last year to an overdose of pills. The informant believes that after his son’s untimely death, strange sightings occurred that made him believe he was seeing signs of his son’s spirit from the dead.
Me: How exactly did your son die?
Uncle: He passed away from an overdose of sleeping pills. He was having trouble sleeping for many weeks and one morning, he didn’t come down for breakfast. I went up to his room and he was in his bed unconscious. The ambulance came right away but it was too late.
Me: Do you think it was suicide, or rather a mistake?
Uncle: my wife and I believe it was a mistake. DJ was having a hard time in his freshman year of college and came home in a state of depression, but we don’t think he was trying to take his life.
Me: And what is it that seemed strange after his untimely death?
Uncle: After DJ passed, I had multiple situations where I saw signs of him. We put an electric candle that turns on at night in his bedroom window. One morning on my way to work a few weeks after his death, I peered up at his window and saw the candle flickering on and off, which is not supposed to happen during the day.
Me: What else has been strange since he has passed?
Uncle: The other thing that happened which made me believe DJ was still here in some way was with my cameras I have in the backyard to watch birds. There was one beautiful, rare bird that I had never seen in my camera after decades of watching. A few days after DJ’s death, the bird not only came across on my camera, but perched up on the branch next to it and sat there staring for minutes at it.
Me: What do you think the message or sign of this was?
Uncle: If you ask me, I think it was a final way for DJ to say “fuck you” for being bad parents. My wife just thinks it was a sign from him to get our attention.
Me: Has any other sightings happened?
Uncle: Every once in a while, as I’m walking up to my room for bed, I pass by DJ’s room and look in quickly. There have been a few times where I hear his voice or get a flash at him in his room, but every time I run in quickly the room is empty. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had too many drinks, or if I really do hear and see him still in his room.
This story has a place in my heart because it was my own cousin, who I never imagined would try to commit suicide. Looking at some of these strange occurrences that my uncle has dealt with, he seems to think that DJ wants to be seen or heard from his parents still. He claims that part of this may be because of his untimely death, or perhaps because they don’t believe they treated him right. He says in the interview that he believes it’s a final “fuck you” to him and his wife, and I can verify that DJ was the type to show hatred, but I don’t believe that this was the reasoning for these signs. His father also acknowledges that he may just be forcing these signs on himself to try and remember DJ, or to deny the fact that he is gone. Sometimes when he sees a glimpse of DJ or hears him from upstairs, he convinces himself that he’s too drunk or crazy, but it is not unlikely that DJ’s spirit is still within the house. After all, he did die in that bedroom in a way that is untimely. My uncle is not a religious person, but he agrees with my take that DJ’s life may be gone, but his spirit could still be with them in their home. The description by my uncle of the bird sighting he had was especially intriguing to me. The one bird my uncle could never capture on camera for decades gives him minutes of video staring directly into the camera, almost trying to be seen. This makes me wonder how much of a connection this has to how DJ wanted to be seen, heard, or felt by his parents. I’m not saying he reincarnated into that bird in his afterlife, but I would like to think that DJ’s spirit would have the power to create a situation that would make his father happier in such a hard time. Seeing someone that myself and many others loved for his strong will, maturity and sense of humor leave so suddenly (potentially through self harm) was very hard on our family, especially my uncle. Whether my uncle truly did have connections with DJ’s spirit through these sightings is a mystery to us all, but I still have reasonable belief that these were no coincidence. The untimely death, the way he passed, and where he passed all cause me to think that maybe DJ’s spirit is still in the comforts of his home, watching over his parents and enjoying the peace he always wanted.