‘Tis said that this is the time of year that the veil between our human world and the spirit dimension is at its thinnest. I’ll therefore share a tale or two which might entertain. These are not the old (and somewhat hackneyed) Jersey legends. They are either first-hand, or from reliable sources.

My first is from Jersey in 1942. It is a written account by the grandmother of a woman I know and run with. It is September and the island of Jersey is occupied by Nazi forces. A decree has been made that all non-Jersey born people will be deported to Germany. This decree includes the narrator and her husband, together with their five children. They have 24 hours to prepare for the journey into the unknown.

It is the night before they are due to depart, at the family home just around the corner from where I live now. Here is her story.

“By 3am I had succeeded in gathering together what I considered to be the most useful articles of clothing for each of us for a stay of perhaps several years in all weather conditions. The children would all be growing during that time so that had to be taken into account – and each person was only allowed up to 28lbs of luggage. Parcels of larger size, new suits and woollies and new pairs of shoes were untied. String and newspapers were strewn about the floor. By the window stood seven piles of clothing but, so far, no suitcases. Exhausted, worried and full of foreboding I knelt down and flung my arms above my head onto the bed and cried, ‘Oh God!’

“At that very moment, I saw behind my right shoulder, and very near me, the tall figure of my maternal grandmother. She was calm. She said, ‘It will be alright.’ This she repeated. My grandmother had died in 1939. Somehow, I flung my body, fully dressed, upon the bed. I became unconscious.”

Endnote: The family remarkably avoided deportation at the last minute.