Grandma’s Visitation

Background: The informant is raised in a family that believes in Buddhism. Since the following paranormal event happened when the informant was only six, her mother helped to provide some of its detailed information, yet the informant claimed that she did hold bits of memory of the whole experience. She claimed that she remembered it so well because, for her, it was an emotional experience. 

CY: My grandma passed away when I was six, around May, the summer holiday before I went to primary school. She died in a car accident. That night, my parents invited some monks to our home to hold a ceremony, known as “Zuo Fa Shi” in Chinese. The first night passed peacefully, but the following evening, which was exactly one night before my grandma’s cremation, I started to run a fever, umm, at around 7 p.m. My mom got super worried, but the monks comforted her, saying that it was my grandma. She came to visit me. My temperature kept rising at midnight and my mom said that I was murmuring the whole time, though she could barely understand one word. The monks then told my mom to read a piece of sutras beside my bed, but she has forgotten about the content… I think it should be something that was meant to be said to my grandma. My mom was so terrified that she pulled up an all-nighter, and according to her, at around 2 a.m., I suddenly straightened my arms, pointing to the ceiling, and made a strange noise that sounded like an old woman screaming. After that, everything got settled down. I was no longer murmuring nor feverish. And that ends my whole story. 

Me: You said that your grandma went to visit you the night before cremation. Is there any significance about that evening? Why that night particularly? 

CY: Well, yeah, there is some sort of sayings about that in the ancient Chinese culture. So if spirits really exist, they are supposed to pass the Nai He Bridge and drink the Meng Po soup after the cremation. So, uh, that night was, was really her last chance to visit her family. And my mom said that my grandma came to visit me because she worried about me the most. 

Me: I see. Then do you know if your grandma went to visit others as well? Like your other relatives-? 

CY: Oh yes! May was pretty harsh on our family during that year, because my grandaunt also passed away in May. Because of oral cancer. I remember her calling all of us to the hospital one day and telling us that she thought that she was going to an end. She said that she had dreamed of my grandma that night, seeing my grandma smiling and waving to her. And about one or two days later, my grandaunt passed away. They said that my grandma was waiting for her in the dream, and they both went to heaven. 

Context: This piece was collected during a phone call. 

Thoughts: The informant’s experience is a detailed example of ghost visitation, which is quite interesting and moving at the same time since people in many cultures tend to believe that family members would come back and visit their beloved before going to the other side of the world. However, it is worth noticing that a lot of the details were narrated by the informant’s mother, so they might be exaggerated or imprecise. Her mother might be experiencing slight hallucinations due to the trauma of losing her own mom, and it is possible that her memory has faded after more than ten years. Yet a lot of the behaviors shown by the informant during her grandma’s visitation indeed can be considered “spooky”, such as the unexpected fever, and it makes me wonder if all these so-called ghost visitations would manifest themselves in terms of certain illnesses on the person being visited. Moreover, how would this visitation be different from the “visitation dream” experienced by the informant’s grandaunt?