At the risk of making myself sound crazy (okay, crazier…), I am going to share a story with you. It is something that I have not often spoke about and, in fact, today I shared it with a couple of classes for the very first time. Seeing as how I wasn’t laughed out of the room, I guess it went okay. You see, Dear Readers, it involves something that there really isn’t any logical explanation for, or at least one that makes sense. I don’t know how to explain it, other than to say that perhaps there are some things that simply defy our puny attempts to explain and define them. So here goes.
It all started on the night of November 29/30, 1986. I was a young lad of eight years old. I awoke in the middle of the night from a particularly vivid dream. In my dream, I was present at a Civil War battle, though at that time I didn’t know which one. When I say it was a vivid dream, I could still smell the smoke from the gunpowder when I woke up. Black powder has a distinctive smell and, given my age, I didn’t know that. However, the smell matched what I would later smell on many a field as a reenactor. I guess I chalked the dream up to an overactive imagination. Until the next year when I had the same dream on the same night. And the next year. And the next. And every year that followed. No doubt on Friday night, I’ll have the dream again at the age of 41.
As I got a bit older, I learned that I was dreaming about the Battle of Franklin and was seeing the battle through the eyes of Confederate soldier. I could describe the battle in such a way that it would appear as though I had been there and I knew details about the battle that I could not have learned in any other way (since I had not, at that time, read anything about it). So how, Dear Readers, can one explain this? I admit that I’m at a loss for words. Some have told me that I must be remembering a past life, but if we truly live multiple lives, why can I only remember this one? Another explanation, and one that intrigues me, is that I am actually seeing the memories of an ancestor who was present at the battle and, for some reason, he has seen fit to gift me his memories. Though the dream is fairly traumatic and I could do without it, to be honest. But is there some other answer?
And for the record, the actual battle took place on November 30th, and so I have the dream each year on the night before the battle. Odd, don’t you think?