Home   2012   Aliens Annunaki   Cats   Cryptozoology   Crystals & Talismans   Demons   Electronic Voice Phenomenon   Fairies & Elves   Ghost Books   Ghost Lights   Ghost Pictures   Ghost Stories   Halloween   Imaginary Friends   Lilith
Native Americans   Ouija Boards   Paranormal Investigations   Poltergeists   Questions/Answers   Sage   Shadow Creatures   Sleep Paralysis   Vampires   Werewolves   Wicca & Witchcraft   Submit A Ghost Story

Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 14

Posted on December 29, 2009

Have you read the previous parts of this story? Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 1

Now a mother myself and aware children have a bit of a window into the other world we tend to close as we grow older, I did entertain an experiment with my son. Asking a question not many parents would put to a two year old – very casually over lunch one day I asked “who were you before I was your mummy?”

Unlike an adult who would process the question and reject it with their own reality as a silly question, my son took it as face value and answered me! “Oh, I was Mgumbo,” he said munching on his sandwich. The name always stuck in my mind, because while it sounded made up and like gibberish, yet it reminded me of that 50′s/ 60′s movie set in Africa with Clark Gable and Ava Gardener.

Instead of rejecting or projecting my own interpretation onto his answer I continued, “Oh where did you live?” “Oh it was a very hot place,” he explained, “very sunny” (you have to remember he was only two, so my answers could only be answered relative to his language at his relevant age of the time). “What did you look like?” “Oh I had black skin,” he said sipping his juice. “Were you a boy or a girl?” “I was a boy,” he said without pausing from his lunch. “What happened to you?” I asked. “Oh I was riding my bike to school and a lion ate me – everybody was crying because of that,” he explained without emotion. “Oh OK,” I agreed keeping it light and changed the subject.

When he was three – I asked the same questions again and got the identical answers – by age four he couldn’t remember anymore. My second husband had a son – my intuition played me correct in that I should treat my new step-son with a lot of TLC. He had a speech defect and a learning disability, so one had to be patient with him.

My step-son has always been intrigued by all things military – particularly American Military to the point of obsession. He could barely read but could give you the specs on most American military weaponry, I presumed he got it from his PC and x.box war games. One could argue this would be expected because he has a father in the army but my husband stays far away from the military (outside of work) its a job, not a lifestyle he argues and gets quite miffed his son prefers American to Australian. I’m sure there are many ‘army brats’ that aspire to being hairdressers or postal workers and just as many civilian children who aspire to joining the military when they’re older. But my step-son has always told us he “loves America” and he is adamant eventually he will go there.

One day when he was younger we erected the Australian Flag in our front window, we were taken aback that my step-son demanded we also put up an American flag as well. His father pooh-poohed the idea quickly, “we’re Australian mate – not American,” he had to remind him. You can imagine his father’s reaction when my step-son started telling his father how much better American military was over Australian military – I had to sep in and diffuse world war 3! My husband had a short fuse for this love of all things American.

It would take some time to find out why my step-son needed reminding what nationality he was and was so hung up on all things American. My step-son appeared overtly violent in what he spoke about – one day even trying to garrote my daughter with a piece of cotton! Thank goodness the cotton broke and just gave my daughter a fright, lucky he hadn’t used anything like dental floss or wool! When asked why he had done such a thing he gave the strange answer he just remembered doing it a long time ago and wanted to see what it was like again. He hadn’t acted in malice – he was only a little boy and seemed to have no understanding of the potential danger, we had to explain to him it had the potential to kill someone! He seemed to focus on military violence and I know when he was with us we had to actively censor his TV viewing or what type of computer games he had access to as we believed THAT was the cause.

As he got older he seemed to calm down. But one day was a turning point when he was around 13. His Dad had just finished watching ‘Band of Brothers’ and while my step-son had caught snippets of the show he hadn’t yet seen it in its entirety – I caught him sobbing in his room. I just sat beside him and quietly asked if he was OK. What emerged was the last conversation I expected as it came so out of the blue.

“I remember that,” he started (take into account my step-son has a language difficulty, so sometimes he doesn’t make himself very clear ) “it was just like that with my friends,” he explained. “What do you mean?” I asked. “My friends and I were just like that Band of Brothers – and I saw them all die.” The first thing that struck me was he was talking in the first person. “Oh is this a game you played?” I suggested. “No this was real – I remember it all the time – this was when I was a man before – I was an American then – it plays in my head like a movie all the time,” he complained. My blood ran cold… what was I dealing with? An over active imagination or a valid past life memory?

My step-son seemed genuinely distressed so I didn’t dismiss him outright. “Where were you from? What state? What town?” I asked. He seemed to think a while, “I can remember but it had a river and a big water tower with the name on it but I can’t read it.” He seemed to be accessing the memory of an actual place. “I can’t remember,” he sagged visibly defeated. “That’s OK ” I soothed, realizing he really hadn’t given me any real identifying information. It seemed to bother him more than it bothered me.

“So what happened to you?” I asked. “Oh I was like the guy in Band of Brothers – I got to grow old – I didn’t die – I got to go home.” “Oh ok,” I nodded trying to keep it all moving, “were you married?” “Oh yeah!” he said perking up with a sudden smile, “she was the prettiest gal in school and a May Queen – she had a ribbon and a pretty dress.” I just sat in shock as the boy who struggled with Australian English so much he had to attend a speech pathologist, slipped easily into a perfect American accent before my eyes. “Oh you lucky guy,” I smiled back poking him in the ribs but his smile didn’t last long. “It was pretty bad – Bob copped a grenade – took his head clean off ,” he started, “their body keeps moving for a while, you know, like their head is still there.” “Really?” I started recognizing a lot of the familiar violent commentary we had heard when he was younger. “Gee one guy fell out the church tower and got impaled on the fence – he’d only been with us a day – never learnt his name – couldn’t get him the hell off that fence – he was stuck good – poor bastard didn’t die for a whole day.” By now his sentence structure was no longer even his. I pulled a face to show empathy but didn’t want to speak as he seemed on a roll. “Got stabbed once by a German – didn’t feel a thing – thought the bastard punched me but he’d had a knife – didn’t realize until I saw the blood – I’d killed him by then,” he rattled off matter of factly. “Oh how did you do that?” I asked casually. “Bayonet,” he said simply. “Did you marry the pretty girl when you got home?” I asked trying to change the macabre subject matter. “Oh yeah,” he said smiling. “What was her name?” I asked. My step-son looked decidedly upset when he realized he couldn’t remember her name and appeared about to cry again. “But I remember it all,” he argued getting upset again. “Did you have any kids?” I asked trying to move him along. “Yeah a boy and a girl,” he said, “Bob for my mate and… ” he trailed off and shook his head, “nope can’t think of her name either. How come this is all in my head all the time? I hate it!” he exclaimed in desperation. “OK you have to understand you are John now,” I started carefully, “you have a full time job being John every day and being here in Australia and this is who you are now and this is your family now.” He nodded. “You cant be this American GI and John – he had his turn and now its your turn to be John in Australia – its OK to remember – but that its from before NOT now. Now you have to make up all the new memories about being John OK? And grow up and make a life and meet a new lady and get married and have more kids and make a new life.” “In America?” he piped up excitedly. “Who knows where John will go when you are older,” I explained making a point to use his current name (changed to protect his identity ).

My Step-son sat on the bed and nodded sagely. “I still remember,” he said awkwardly – now back in his stilted way of speaking… with an Australian accent. “You probably always will,” I acknowledged, “but you can’t let it get in the way of being John OK?” “OK,” he agreed… and that was that.

John still knows all the words to God Bless America (but doesn’t know his own national anthem!) and loves all things American but I’m much more tolerant and understanding of it now. I was just disappointed I couldn’t get anything more substantial that could have been used to validate if it was a literal past life memory, as I’m sure statistically there would have been an awful lot of American WW2 vets who came home to marry their (un-named) home town sweetheart in a town on a river with a water tower – with a son called Bob and a daughter of undetermined name. What’s a May Queen anyway?

Written by Jennifer Mills-Young, Copyright 2009

Have you read the previous parts of this story? Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 1 ~~ Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 13

More Ghost Stories and the Paranormal

Image of Coast To Coast Ghosts: True Stories of Hauntings Across America

Coast To Coast Ghosts: True Stories of Hauntings Across America

Image of Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story

Image of The Ghost Next Door: True Stories of Paranormal Encounters from Everyday People

The Ghost Next Door: True Stories of Paranormal Encounters from Everyday People

Image of The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories

The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories

Image of Classic Ghost Stories: Eighteen Spine-Chilling Tales of Terror and the Supernatural

Classic Ghost Stories: Eighteen Spine-Chilling Tales of Terror and the Supernatural

Image of The Best Ghost Stories Ever (Scholastic Classics)

The Best Ghost Stories Ever (Scholastic Classics)

Image of The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories

The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories

Image of This House: The True Story of a Girl and a Ghost

This House: The True Story of a Girl and a Ghost

Tags: Australia, Children, Jennifer Mills-Young, Past Lives, Sydney

Do you like to talk about the paranormal world?

Check out our paranormal forum at www.TalkParanormal.com


5 Responses to “Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 14”
  1. DarStarr says:

    Your stories are just so interesting! I look forward to each new one!
    There was a tradition back in the day called the May festival. It was to celebrate the beginning of spring. They would have a pole (May pole) that had ribbons and flowers tied around it and girls would dance around the MayPole. If I am not mistaken, the May Queen was the one elected to start the MayPole dance.

  2. trolldoll1681 says:

    yeah i remember may day. we would fix up cute little paper baskets with candy and go to the neighbors’ doors and ring the door bell, put the basket on the stoop and run!! as for your step son and son, they were remembering past lives, so who could blame them.

  3. Jennifer Mills - Young says:

    Wow! You mean that there really is a May Queen thing in the US?! We don’t have them here, that’s why I wasn’t too sure what they were, I thought they must be like a beauty queen or something.
    Given my step son has problems in reading and speaking he’s not exactly too ‘ well read ‘ as he suffers a form of autism.
    That makes my step’s son’s comments a little more interesting, as its not a cultural event he would have been exposed to here. Now that is spooky!

  4. Jennifer Mills - Young says:

    My step-son is now 16 and recently announced he plans to take out American Citizenship as soon as he is old enough and join the American Military.

  5. Steph says:

    Hi Jennifer, have you read up on May Day? You can read about the May Queen on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day

    In my village in the UK school children still do a May pole dance at the village fete, I remember partaking in dancing around the May pole when I attended the village junior school about 20 years ago. :)

Cool Movies

Image of Tangled


Image of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Image of Megamind (Single-Disc Edition)

Megamind (Single-Disc Edition)

Image of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [Blu-ray]

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [Blu-ray]