Blog Meditation

Listening To The Ghosts of Intuition

October 23, 2013
Trees with foggy lake in background.

Listening To The Ghosts of Intuition

Back in college, when things got tough and the tough needed a study break, we would grab a bunch of people, load them into a car, and head up Boulder Canyon to sniff pine trees. Sounds weird, you say? Yeah, maybe, but at least we were out in nature, hiking around in the mountains, and not getting into too much trouble. It was all an exercise in creativity, a method of mental release. Supposedly, all pine species have distinctive smells, each their own. Butterscotch, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, there were many options, as varied as a kid might find when let loose in a candy store. There might even have been bubblegum. What we found instead was that every person conjured up different smells, regardless of the species in front of our noses. Was it because of individual tastes? Or was it because each person had a different set of independent experiences and collections of memory from which they could draw.

A human comes with their own operating system, with distinct programming not necessarily comprehensible to anyone else. If you think about it in weed terminology, you might understand this better. The world is a garden of people. Sometimes it’s okay to water and wait, to see how the weeds in my garden might develop, because I’m never quite certain, with some plants, if they truly are weeds. They’re so pretty. Do I have to yank something growing out of the earth simply because it can’t be specifically classified?

I was talking with a friend over lunch a few weeks ago, we were trying to name the senses, because there are more than just the standard five, those of sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste. The extra senses deal with how people handle relationships with others. The sixth sense, the one that gets a lot of hype in the movies, the supposedly scary one where actor Haley Joel Osment “sees dead people,” might be nothing more than our intuition at work.

With one of her quick leaps of intuition she had entered into the other’s soul.

Edith Wharton, The Old Maid: The Fifties (serialized in The Red Book Magazine, 1922).

Foggy Night with Tree

It’s difficult to know what another person is thinking and experiencing. Each one of us is unique.

Ghosts, supernatural possibilities, and the metaphysical are hot topics, any time of the year. They’re not isolated to October and Halloween. The CrimeBeat in my local newspaper for the last week of August reported three incidences of odd activity which could fall into the “You’re FOS” category. In the first report, a person stated that a thing was living in the gutters of their house, and they could see the thing’s claws reaching out at them. Another person called the police to report a bunch of “weird things” at their house: fish being poisoned, somebody peeing inside the house, and a door that kept opening and closing. And then there was the woman who thought the police department would have insight into whether her house was haunted, based on its history. People with too much time on their hands? Maybe. People with wild imaginations? You could say that.

I believe it comes down to how well someone’s insight is honed to experiencing the optional. It has to do with that sixth sense; whether a person allows their intuition to take over and lead them down that unconscious path, the one which tugs on past encounters, and doesn’t permit hardcore rationality and conscious thought to interfere.

For example, one of our many homes was close to downtown, on 13th Avenue. Also revered as “Ghost Alley,” I discovered the appellation was true, if you chose to experience it. I am certain I saw dead people in that house, but they were very friendly. There was the sea captain (or at least, an older gentleman with a salt-and-pepper beard wearing a captain’s hat) who liked to sit in the antique chair I had conveniently placed for him on the stair landing. There was the nightgown-clad grandma who perched delicately on the edge of our bed at night, who made just enough movement on the mattress to wake me up, but didn’t disturb Dr. K, who, of course, didn’t believe me the next morning.


Morning fog on grass.

At times, we have to rely on our instincts to get insight into reality. Photo courtesy of Katie Diaz.

“I know our house is haunted!” I told him. I wasn’t worried about it. I found it exciting, certainly more so than dealing with a three-year-old and a newborn baby. He thought I was silly, and told me so.

“I have solid proof,” I informed him. “At night, I always turn on the porch light before I go to bed, and in the morning, it’s always turned off! I’m not doing that! It has to be one of our ghosts.”

He sighed. I was obviously so silly, so clearly FOS. “You may go to bed later than I do, but I get up earlier than you. turn off the light when I come down stairs each morning,” he told me.

It was frustrating. How could I get him to understand that there were odd occurrences in our home?

Then one evening, there it was, an otherworldly happening. I sat reading on the wicker couch on our front porch, waiting for Dr. K to return home from the office. The baby was tucked safely in a corner of the couch, happily snoozing; our toddler trundled his Little Tikes tractor across the wooden floorboards, from one end of the porch to the other, back and forth. Molly, the husky mutt sat in front of the door, waiting patiently for Dr. K. Suddenly, her tail began to wag furiously, as it always did when she saw him coming down the hallway. Except that day, no one came out the door onto the porch.

Later, when I described the experience to Dr. K, he didn’t believe me. “A door must have slammed in the house, or maybe she heard a neighbor’s car,” he said, dismissing the story. I still think something, or someone, was there who attracted our dog’s attention.


Trees with foggy lake in background.

If we make a greater attempt to listen, noise from our surroundings can be subdued, and pushed into the background, allowing what is important to come into focus. Photo courtesy of Katie Diaz.

There are many layers of perception in life, and many sorts of ghosts troubling us. Some require greater suspension of reality. It’s true, some people’s intuition equips them with better insight than others. As with sniffing pine trees, everyone brings in a different set of experiences from which they draw, making a person unique. Maybe there aren’t any ghosts. I’m not sure. But I do know that we need to listen to what others have to say, and listen to what they are not saying. We need to listen to that inner voice when it tells us that something is wrong. We have to make the connection, and suspend our idea of rationality, if we want to gain understanding of other’s viewpoints.

Today’s blog post is dedicated In Memory of Mary Miller. Thank you for your unending encouragement. Rest in peace.

Like this blog post? Subscribe to my newsletter so you won’t miss out on future blog posts!

Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply Anonymous October 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    The ghost stories and the recipe were both favorites… not to mention the super cool photos.
    Way to go, girl! Knock’n them out of the park.

  • Reply R.j. Kahn October 26, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Well written and provocative. My insight into the matter of ghosts follows:
    As we travel through life we meet many other people, and when they reappear often they disappoint us. However some return in the manner of ghosts, and they appear in the form that we wish them to be , they are most often pleasant and helpful in contradistinction to many people that reappear later in life and disappoint.

  • Reply AK October 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I believe in ghosts.

  • Reply margie rothaus October 26, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Beautiful piece Emily – very perceptive and wise. It certainly struck a chord within me……… the pictures, too, were beautiful – so dreamy and spiritual – I wonder about the photographer and also who the photographer of the night scene is……… keep on writing!

    • Reply Emily Kemme October 26, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Thank you. The night scene photographer was me. The other two were taken by a friend on a recent foggy morning. Thank you for reading!

  • Reply Lori Gama October 25, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Wow, Emily! Great essay! I just love the flow of this and subject matter. Beautifully written.

  • Leave a Reply