Corporal Clark
By: Kate MacDonald-Dunbar

The first time I found myself dabbling in the dark arts was at a friend's house in the early 80's. We had spent a jolly evening, then the host mentioned the "Ouija" board he had in the cupboard under the stairs. After much discussion about it being silly and a bit childish, we all decided we would go ahead and see what might happen. It turns out we were both silly [and] childish. Who would have thought it?

So, there we were, gathered around a table, trying very hard to be serious and spiritual. We had written all the letters of the alphabet on pieces of paper, added numbers 1 to 10, then NO and YES. Each of us spoke the words "Is anyone there?" in turn, amidst giggles and nudges. When the glass started to shudder its way across the table, there were cries of "Cameron, you're pushing that" and "I can see your finger going white Senga" etc.

We were generally a jolly bunch, known for our japes and jokes, but gradually that evening, the atmosphere changed. We were visited first by a Victorian mass murderer. The palpable sense of evil surrounding this entity felt as though it oozed over the barrier between there and here. Secondly, there was a sweet little ten-year-old girl named Sophy. We asked why she was still on this plain, going nowhere. Her response described in graphic detail the vengeance she had exacted on her uncle, as well as the reasons for it.

"He was meant to look after me when my parents died. He took my innocence. The pain he also inflicted on me was inventive. Many, many tiny little cuts in places both sensitive and out of sight." He became careless, though, thinking her docile. That was when she turned his knife on him. When she knew he could harm no one else, she felt at peace. This sad story ended with her going to her death into the deep, dark loch in the center of Scotland's capital city.

“Because I don't feel repentance for what I did, I cannot move on.”

Then she left. Where she had filled the glass with her sweet spirit, it was now empty.

The ladies looked spooked, pun intended, but the reaction from the guys was unexpected. No jeering, no condescending remarks. One young chap left the table for a few minutes, looking fraught. I was very aware that we had strayed into an area far beyond anything we could understand or control. As I started to voice my concerns, the glass moved, no, glided across the table. I would like to add a little comment here. Having now had a lot more experience of the other side, there's one thing I know for certain. There is a totally different feel between an empty glass being forced to move and one that is inhabited by a spirit. It was obvious that there was an intent.

We asked for a name and the glass spelled out slowly the words "Corporal Clark"

When we questioned this entity, we found out he was a young soldier stationed at an Army Camp somewhere in England. One of us asked how he'd died (a little callous I thought) and he spelled out one word…MURDERED.

We had to find out what happened, so we carried on asking questions. It took some time to get the full story. Apparently, the young man had uncovered a scam between the NAAFI sergeant and the local grocery store owner who was supplying the camp. They overcharged on some items and charged for things that were never delivered and split these ill-gotten gains between them. The poor boy was not sure what to do. Should he confront the sergeant with what he knew or go straight to the Commanding Officer? He was still trying to decide as he wandered back to camp one night after a few drinks at the village pub.

The way back to camp was along a quiet country lane. When there was about half a mile to go, he heard an Army jeep thundering up the lane behind him. He moved to the verge as it came alongside, but it swerved. It hit him and he bounced and rolled. He was badly hurt, but he never knew how badly. He remembered thinking no-one would find out what he had discovered, then nothing, blackness.

The young soldier told us that he was in Limbo. Well, what he actually said was that it was black, cold and he was so lonely where he was. I don't think I ever realized just how pitiful the word lonely could be until then. When we asked why he was still there, helpfully pointing out that there should be a bright light somewhere in his vicinity, he said, well, spelled, that he could not move on because the person responsible for his death had gotten away with it and not been brought to justice.

A point I'd like to mention here that I noticed whilst communicating with the spirits is how amazingly well dead people can spell. It is truly astounding. I digress. Onward with the tale.

Our reaction to this sad, sad story was one of outraged horror! Something should and must be done about this. We started to ask more questions. What was the name of the NAAFI sergeant? Suddenly, the temperature in the room dropped. We stopped talking, watching the glass as it started to move again. We focused and saw "I am not alone. There is something near me and getting nearer. Please help, save me." Then the glass just emptied. There was no other way to describe it. The personality that had inhabited it was gone. Then, as you might expect, we came crashing back to reality. We frantically tried to contact Corporal Clark again, but he was gone. Once again, some of the ladies were very upset and tearful. The men, true to type, insisted we should take some kind of action.

We discussed all that happened, and we were pretty sure no military type was ever going to believe one word of our tale about talking to a dead soldier through a glass! We all felt very sad and quite guilty that we couldn't do anything. I don't know how the others in the group felt that night. The feeling that I did nothing stayed with me for quite some time. For weeks afterwards, in that misty space between there and here, I felt someone was reaching out to me.

I wasn't afraid, surprisingly. The emotion I felt was akin to shame. One night, I awoke again from a nightmare. I was aware that the sad, drooping spirit was still with me. I found myself entreating Corporal Clark to understand there was nothing more I could do. I explained that I understood he would not find it easy to leave the one place where his voice was heard.

"Think about the evil man who killed you. He has paid for what he did by now, Clarkie. He'll be dead and not in a good place. Let go of the hurt and anger, move on and be with your loved ones."

That was when I heard a soft, sad sigh. The ache in my heart eased a little as the tear between the spirit world and ours was closed at last.

The End


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