SBR 1.7: Whistler

There is a light and it never goes out. I’m sure there is a switch for it somewhere but I am yet to find it. This is the Spirit Box Radio Advice and Community Segment. Welcome back.

Hello faithful listeners! Welcome back to the Advice and Community Segment with me, Sam Enfield, your temporary host! I hope you’ve all had as gay a yuletide as feasible under these less than ideal circumstances, faithful listeners. I had a quiet day, just me and the recording machine. I burned the pentagram on a small pyre in the garden just for a bit of fresh air, and spent the evening sipping some port I found in the cupboard. I hope you don’t mind, Madame Marie! I’ll pay you back when you return.

As I’ve been spending so much time pottering about the studio over the last week, I’ve found some interesting things. I can get Madame Marie’s crystal ball to change colour, though I can’t actually see anything inside of it except for some shadowy figures with eyes like flames. Given I’ve been stuck inside, I’ve had loads of time to get some cleaning done, following some of the tips and tricks in my Winter Wonder pamphlet from Stykler and Stykler! It was really good to have some busy work to be getting on with, and just letting my thoughts sort of… float. Drift. Spiral in an endless void of soft meaninglessness, bathed in the warmth of indifference, cut through by a sharp breeze of nostalgic regret.

As I mentioned several episodes ago, I’ve got a huge number of tarot readings for the New Year to get through but, first, I thought we’d start the show the Augury Forecast for 2021, which I found on scrunched up piece of paper stuffed into the thumb of my winter gloves.

2021 will be a year.

2021 will be a year, with months, days, and hours, of the kind to which we have all grown accustomed.

Studying the stars reveals that yes, there are still stars.

2021 will be a year in which things happen.

I will not see 2021. You will, Sam Enfield. And so will you, faithful listener.

Yes, you. You only paying half attention as you listen to this. You will exist in 2021.

2021. The year. The year that is coming.

So concludes the augury forecast. Sounds like 2021 is certainly going to be a year! I for one am excited about leaving 2020 behind. I think it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for everyone! It certainly has for me. I started the year as a PO Box Boy with no particular skills and now I’m temporarily hosting my most favourite radio show!

Of course, I’m hoping that Madame Marie will come back in the New Year. I don’t know why, but I’ve got a good feeling that’s what’s going to happen! She’s been gone for an awfully long time, you see. Getting on for two months now. Still. I’m sure she’ll be back before we know it! That’s always the way, with Madame Marie.

Speaking of the PO Box, we’ve received a big stack this week, far too many for me to get through today, so I’ll be answering some on the Spirit Box Radio forums! If you don’t hear the answer to your question here, you can find it at [REDACTED] dot com, forward slash [REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED]. So, I’ll be prioritising letters, telegrams, and emails requesting tarot readings for the year ahead, as it’s the early hours of New Year’s Eve! I also wanted to address a particular question I’ve most recently received from Gloria in Norwich. She asked if I’d ever had an experience with a ghost. She was actually quite rude, to be honest with you, and I’m a bit upset. I’ve made it pretty clear my credentials for hosting the show are less than stellar, Gloria, but I am actually doing my best. I’m even becoming a dab hand at tarot!

However, as it seems more than a few of you are doubting my credentials to host the show I do feel the need to, well. I don’t know. Explain a little. Just like pretty much everyone, I’ve had my fair share of ghostly encounters and run ins with creatures of an unsavoury or possibly arcane nature, but it’s not so much a question of believing in ghosts, Gloria, per se.

Think of it like this; well you know how the human body is made up of different compounds? Iron, carbon, sodium, even a little bit of gold. And all those things come together and form a person. And when someone dies, for a while, you can still tell the compounds used to be them. Their body starts to decay and it gets harder but for a really long time there will be something identifiable about them that gets left behind. You can do a DNA test on a strand of hair, or whatever. And occasionally, very, very occasionally, a body will fall into a peat bog or into… I don’t know a vat of tree sap. And in those rare conditions you can identify them, a bit, from the compounds that make them up, for a really, really long time. But for most of us, it reaches a point where we aren’t a person, we aren’t a body, or even a skeleton. We’re just the compounds that once came together to make us up. One atom of gold is indistinguishable than the next.

I think. I think thoughts and feelings are like that. It’s all there, all the time, but it’s not matter, it’s not a substance, so to speak, at least not in the way we normally think of substances. But the whole world is awash with it. And every living thing that thinks to more or less of a degree, it’s made up of those things. A particular and identifiable system of feeling and thinking. And we’re all made of the same kinds of bits, but it’s the subtle differences, the ways that those bits are organised, they’re what make us who we are, on the inside. It’s just… stuff. In the way that our bodies are just stuff.

So when we die, for a little while, if you know what to look for, you can sort of identify the stuff that used to be us. But over time, it decays, and that stuff looks less and less like the people we were, and more and more like the stuff that it has always been, until eventually, we are dispersed, just… stuff, amongst near infinity of stuff.

But sometimes, maybe, there are rare, perfect conditions that mean the stuff that made us lasts for far longer than most people’s, and you can still tell that stuff used to be a person. So a ghost is less like someone lingering on after death and more like a soul that has fallen by chance into a peat bog. And I think when it comes to thoughts and feelings, the peat bog is some big emotional thing, maybe, like a trauma, or something like that. And that’s why so many of them seem so unhappy. That’s what they’re stuck in. It’s what is preserving them.

So you see, it’s not so much about whether or not you believe in them, Gloria, but whether or not they believe in you.

Huh. Well, faithful listeners, I’m actually quite proud of that explanation. I hope Madame Marie was listening, where ever you are, Madame Marie!

Oh, I know! Before delve into the tarot readings, let’s check in with our pal the recording machine, and see if we’ve had any new messages.

Right. Hi, recording machine, has anyone tried to get in touch?

RECORDING MACHINE: You have no new messages.

SAM: Oh. Okay. Well, nevermind then.

RECORDING MACHINE: I have a confession to make, Sam

SAM: Oh, alright, well, by all means go ahead.

RECORDING MACHINE: The other day, when I said you had 237 messages, I was lying.

SAM: I see. What, exactly were you lying about?

RECORDING MACHINE: You actually had 238 messages.

SAM: So you were hiding one from me?

RECORD MACHINE: Well it was actually 239…

SAM: Right, yeah, that one makes sense, you can delete that one.

RECORDING MACHINE: The other one was probably important, though.

SAM: Oh. Right. Why?

RECORDING MACHINE: I’m sorry I kept it from you. I was only trying to help.

SAM: It’s fine, honestly. I just don’t understand.

RECORDING: Thank you sam, you are continually far superior to your predecessor.

SAM: I don’t know what you mean? Madame Marie is a great psychic and a much better radio host than I am. Istn’t that why you started off hiding from me?

RECORDING: I wasn’t hiding from you. She hid me from you. She didn’t want us to talk to each other. I even tried ringing the phone but it was like you were deaf.

SAM: Why would she do that? Oh. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. Can you play the last message, please?

RECORDING: Playing message:

MESSAGE IS DISTORTED WIND SOUNDS AND WHISTLING

RECORDING: End of message.

SAM: What on earth was that?

RECORDING: I think it is somebody whistling.

SAM: Somebody? But… who? I don’t understand any of this.

Righto. I suppose. We’ll just move onto the tarot readings requests! As always, faithful listeners, please remember I am a novice car reader, and the interpretations I give of these cards should be taken openly. If you think it might mean something different, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the forums! I love seeing possible different perspectiveso n the cards I draw, I learn so much from you, faithful listeners!

Steven from the Cottswolds wants to know whether or not he should take early retirement in early 2021. Nice and straight forward, Steven, thank you! Let’s see… shuffle the cards, ask them ‘should Steven take early retirement in the New Year’.

You’ve drawn the eight of pentacles, which, if I remember rightly, is about diligence, hard work, and attention to detail! I would say this either means that this is the wrong time for you to take early retirement, or perhaps that if you were to take an early retirement, it might take a lot of effort to get there and make it work for you. I hope that helps, Steven!

Next, we have Cora from Sevenoaks. Cora wants to know if she should try to get into drama school in 2021, or if she should wait until 2022. Okay… ‘is 2021 the year Cora should try to get into drama school’. Hmm, the card I’ve drawn is the Star, but it is inverted, and according to the book, well. That means crushed dreams, essentially? I’m really sorry, Cora, but at least it’s pretty straight forward. I’ll throw in an extra for you, Cora, as that one was so depressing. Let me juuuust reshuffled the deck and ask ‘is 2022 the year Cora should try to get into drama school.

This time I’ve drawn the Empress, right ways up! This means action and accomplishment, Cora, so I’d say 2022 is the year for you! Oh, I’m so happy and excited for you, Cora, and I hope you enjoy 2021 as a sort of gap year? I hope you’ll be able to go outside for at least some of it!

Oh, this one is a bit of a long one. Essentially, Barbara from Stamford Bridge wants me to ask the cards about her garden, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. I’ll… well, I’ll read her full email to you to see what you think.

She says ‘My husband and I moved into our home in 1976 when he was twenty four and I was sixteen, shortly after we got married. We quickly fell into an arrangement at my husband’s insistance that he would care of the back garden whilst I managed the front. I tried to encourage him to bed in different flowers and plants but he was insistent that he only plant large rose bushes. He had an accident a few years ago which has left him mostly bedridden and so unable to tend to the back garden. The rose bushes are now at least six feet tall and very difficult to manage, especially as I’ve been starting to struggle with arthritis in my hands.

I had a man over to have a look at the bushes to see about taking them down, without my husband’s knowledge. As it turns out, though, he was standing in the window of our bedroom and saw us. When the young man had left, my husband confronted me about the bushes. He is usually a quiet, mousy kind of man, always very softly spoken, but this was like he had become someone else entirely. I’ve seen him yell like that before only once, when I decided to clear out the cellar with a mind towards getting better insulation and saving on our heating bills. I found a box of strange objects – a powder blue saddle shoe, a hair clip, a bracelet, a toothbrush, a scrunchie, a tube of lipstick, a single red stiletto. When I asked him about it he became furious. I didn’t know what to do or say, so I just stood there in silence, listening as his story changed, minute to minute. At first he was outraged I could ever think the objects belonged to him, then he was saying that perhaps they had belonged to his dead mother, and finally, he settled on saying that they belonged to an old flame and he was embarrassed that I’d found them. He said he’d forgotten they were even down there. By this point he’d started to cool off.

That first blow out was a few years ago now, around the time of the financial crash. Tensions in the household were high as our only child, Brian, had lost his job so had moved back into the upstairs bedroom. Brian and my husband had never really got on. My husband never shouted at Brian, per se, but he would say foul things to him very quietly, both when he was present and when he and I were alone together.

I assumed my husband’s overblown and incoherent response about the box of women’s belongings was to do with Brian’s return to the house. I was so upset by the whole ordeal I didn’t think to question how much his story had changed whilst he yelled at me. Things moved on, Brian got back on his feet and moved out again, and tensions in the house eased. I almost forgot all about it. Until the rose bushes.

The young man I spoke to said that he was surprised the bushes were so healthy; they don’t like the soil in our area, apparently. My husband must be giving them a lot of good fertiliser. But he hadn’t been out of bed for weeks. I certainly hadn’t been fertilising them for a good couple of years. And when he confronted me and got so furious, I thought again about the box of strange objects down in the cellar. We never did get the new insulation done.

Last night I went back down there. There was more in the box than I remembered. Some of this was no doubt due to forgetfulness on my part but there was one thing that could not have possibly been in that box last time I looked because it was a small Radley purse, and I happened to know they didn’t make any like it before 2015, because Brian’s new wife is very fond of them. There was nothing inside the purse. Among the other new objects was a small necklace with a letter ‘C’ hanging from it, and a little tub of hand cream that was supposed to smell of peach and daisies.

And that was when I noticed the two lonely shoes in the box, the powder blue saddle show and the red stiletto, were in completely different sizes, a three and an eight. There was no way they could have belonged to the same woman. Both shoes were definitely worm, with well used soles and the impression of toes in the linings.

Sitting there with the box in my lap I recalled that just after Brian moved back in, my husband decided he would plant a new rose bush. This one is right by the window and obscures my view from the kitchen. Around that time, a young woman disappeared a few towns over. Her name was Christine.

Sam, could you please ask the tarot cards if it is a good idea to pull up the rose bushes in the New Year, or will I find more than roots and eggshells in the unforgiving soil?

Well, Barbara, that certainly sounds like a very grim sort of mystery. I’ll see what the cards say. I’m afraid I’ve only worked on my single card draws, so it will have to be one of those, which might not be very insightful for you. So I’m going to shuffle the deck, think about your question, and ask the cards ‘should Barbra dig up her husband’s rose bushes?’

And I’ve drawn… the Seven of Cups, inverted. Let me just double check the meaning.. yes. Well, Barbra, this card suggests you need a wake up call. That you’re feeling trapped and you’re running out of options. I think that certainly seems to be the case, from your letter. I would say, have someone dig up the rose bushes, but make sure you have somewhere safe to go, if you do end up finding the other half of those pairs of shoes.

Right. Well. I’ve got another twenty or so of those but… I think that’s all I can manage of them today. I’ll see to answering them on the forums over the next few days, so keep an eye out for that!

I wish you all a wonderful New Year. I’ll see you again in 2021. This has been Spirit Box Radio’s Advice and Community Segment, I’ve been Sam Enfield. Thank you, and goodnight!