I had a nice conversation with some Army buddies last night, most of us have never met, we just shared the same Post in South Korea, usually at different times and in different units, but the bond is there non the less. But this post is not about old Army buddies, it is about something else we all shared.
When I was a very young lad my father was stationed in West Germany. One night we went to visit some friends of my parents and they had kids around my older sisters age and they decided to go explore the old Roman ruins down the street. Mom made them take me along. Entering the ancient ruins I could feel something, something scary and sinister. Many years later I was out exploring the hills around my home in the high desert of Washington state and found an old homestead in McLaughlin Canyon, turn of the century newspapers had been used to seal and insulate the walls and after reading through some of the old stories I started kicking around in the dirt outside when I got the “something wicked this way comes” feeling where every hair on your body stands up and you turn to look for who is watching you when a deep, unearthly voice came from the creek not far away and though I could see that there was nothing there I was running for my car before the sound had quite died away.
Several of my old Army buddies from last nights conversation had been assigned to duty on the DMZ in South Korea, a forlorn strip of land that separates North and South Korea and is patrolled on both sides by the opposing forces of the North Korean Army and on the South by the Republic of Korea Army and the US Forces. One of the tools used to survey the mostly barren corridor is a radar set that can pick out a human being 12 kilometers away. Sitting in their observation point at 4Papa3 they could hear the voices in the valley below them, but they could also see that there was nothing there. The electronics guys would see clear movement inside the DMZ on their equipment and radio for a squad to recon and they would report back that there was nothing there as well. walking down one of the roads they could hear the voices of a group of people just ahead of them where nobody could be seen.
That area, as with many other areas of Korea, saw massive death and destruction over the last 100+ years and there are untold numbers of spirits wandering the hills lost and confused.
Another told of venturing onto Mount Hood in Washington state to the site of a WWII plane crash where no bodies had been recovered. Their first night on the mountain they camped on a glacier and under the light of a full moon he could hear voices and footsteps coming toward the camp. He looked out of the tent and there was nothing to see in the clear, cold night but the noises continued. He crawled deep in his sleeping bag and listened to the voices until he fell asleep. In the morning he could find no foot prints other than those made by his small party the day before.
I have seen, heard and felt quite enough during my lifetime to know that we persist, that some element of who or what we are carries on after death.