Sixth Sense

Just making it with Cricket’s Slice Of Life prompt this week.

The prompt is sixth sense.

I used to love visiting the Irish side of my family during the summer holidays when I was a kid. My cousin, Aine, emailed me the other day, and asked if I remembered a girl we used to play with named Violet Day. I had almost forgotten about Violet, but her life is a story in itself.

Violet was a whimsical, dreamy kind of girl. She used to sit in the fields among the peat, gazing out to sea and humming.

Violet was four years older than me and at 14 was the best read person I had ever met. At 14 she was reading Homer and James Joyce. I managed to read the first page of one of her books and had no idea what was going on. This immediately elevated Violet in my eyes. ‘She’s a genius,’ I said to Aine.

Like the easily impressed ten year olds we were, Aine and I followed Violet around, hanging on her every word. She taught us all the capital cities in the world, how to macrame pot holders, what berries were and weren’t poisonous, and where to look for birds nests.

But Violet wasn’t just smart. She had another talent. She knew what was going to happen before it happened.

It was Aine who noticed it first. She went to school with Violet all year round, while I only got to see her in the holidays. It was little things to begin with like Violet knowing where the teacher had left the key to the games cupboard or that Sister Agnes was going to be late for English. Little things that maybe were more guesswork than anything else. Things that didn’t really seem like fortune telling or ESP.

Then other things began happening. Bigger things. Important things. Like Violet knowing Mary Ellen O’Shea was in hospital with pneumonia before anyone else did. Or that Julia Monaghan, the school’s star gymnast, would fall from the vaulting horse during PE and break her ankle. Or that Sister Kathleen would seek special dispensation to leave the church because she fell in love with an Englishman.

As Violet’s predictions became more frequent and more accurate, Aine and I became convinced that not only was she a genius, she was one of the fairy folk. Walking among us.

We took to hanging around her house, invited or not, trying to absorb some of her power. Violet didn’t seem to mind us being there, didn’t seem to mind our endless questions about how she knew what was going to happen. Was she a witch? Was she a fairy? Did she have a wand or a book of spells?

‘It’s just a feeling,’ said Violet. ‘Deep inside. It’s hard to explain. I don’t know how it happens or where it comes from. It just is.’

A lot of people scoffed at Violet’s sixth sense. A lot of people poked fun. But Aine and I knew.

We were there when she had the dream about the storm that struck the old tree by the church, lightning splitting it in two, with one half smashing the stained glass window depicting The Annunciation so that the ground was covered with shards of glass so tiny they looked like Christmas tinsel.

Violet had predicted it two months before, warning  the Parish Committee to cut down the tree. They had ignored her, even forgotten about it, but when it happened they looked at her strangely and wondered how she had known.

Violet had known Imelda McAffrey’s dog, Seamus, would wander off one night (probably chasing foxes) and fall into the bog and almost suffocate. She joined the rescue party and knew exactly where to find him.

By this stage, Aine and I were Violet’s number one fans. We would follow her around, starstruck, asking over and over again; ‘What’s going to happen today, Violet? What’s going to happen today?’

Word was starting to spread. A journalist from Dublin heard about the lost dog and wanted to do a story on Violet. Everywhere she went people asked her to tell their fortune or sign an autograph.

Violet, a quiet, gentle girl with a lovely smile, couldn’t handle her newfound fame. She went to live with her Aunt down south. Aine and I were devastated. People in the town scoffed once more, saying she had made it all up anyway. But Aine and I knew better. We knew Violet had a gift. We had seen it in her face. We had felt it. Small, pale, hidden, with the potential for greatness.

But we could also see the burden it placed on Violet, an ability not really suited to this world. Perhaps it was a gift that after all, that wasn’t meant to be shared.

18 thoughts on “Sixth Sense

  1. What a wonderful true story Sel! I totally believe in the “sixth sense” and have experienced this power first hand on many occasions. I hope Violet found a way to use her incredible gift, as she got older, in a real and ongoing way. It must have been overwhelming to her, as a young woman.

    Thanks for sharing another gem! 😉


  2. Wonderful, wonderful story. I believe a sixth sense like that would become a burden. Though it would come in handy right now as I continue to rummage in strange places looking for my lost mobile phone.


  3. What a wonderful story.

    I think that anything that makes you different – whether is be good or bad or intriguing, is a burden for a lot of people. I was always fantastic with numbers as a little girl and looking back on it now it should have been a fab thing and it was I suppose until other people noticed and started taking me to be “seen” by people. As soon as I was made to feel different (a spectacle I suppose) I stopped doing it, there was no pleasure in it all.


    I think it was very hard for Violet. She really didn’t like the attention. I often wonder what happened to her. I believe some people do have a sixth sense. Most don’t realise they have it. It is a fascinating subject.

    I know what you mean. For the life of me I can’t find the keys to the side gate. I could use that sixth sense about now. LOL.

    There is something otherworldly about people like that. It can be unnerving. Truth be told, Violet made me a little uneasy. I still adored her, however.

    I am sorry to hear your ability made you feel different. It’s such a shame when that happens. I used to be like that with singing. People would always get me to sing at parties and so on. After a while I became a little self-conscious. You are right about it sometimes being a burden to be different.


  5. ps i just realized this is a true story? wow..

    as far as dreams future telling/intuition goes, i believe that the time continuum is not linear so i guess this would make sense that some have this ability..


  6. JONAS:
    Violet was an amazing girl. I will have to find out what she’s doing now. She made me believe in things I hadn’t even considered before.

    How nice of you to stop by. Yes, it is a true story. I have met a few people with some form of sixth sense over the years. Interestingly enough, many of them were of Celtic descent. I used to be very skeptical but now I wonder…..

    Glad you liked it!

    Oh, me too. Can you imagine the things you’d be able to do???


  7. Your story and website have yet again shown me how we can be drawn to different connections all over the world. I have had similar experiences as a child as violet, all of which went away as I became an adult. Although I live in the United States I am of Scottish decent. Three years ago my 20 year old son and I took a trip and drove through Wales, for some reason the two of us have always felt an incredible connection to that area. While we were there my son had nightly dreams and thrashed about, we both felt very strong presences while we were there. I keep telling myself it is something I will some day investigate and your comment about people with celtic decent gave me some more food for thought. Thank you for all your beautiful observations about life.


  8. KATHI:
    What a wonderful story. Some people definitely have a tendency towards seeing and feeling spirits. Perhaps it was the pull of ancestral spirits calling you in Wales. I do think that the Celts are quite attuned to the otherworld. I am so glad you dropped by. Thank you for your comment. I hope you visit again!


  9. Considering that police departments are known to employ psychics at times I have a hard time dismissing the phenomenon. As the Rastamen say, “Life is full of signs, lots of signs.” Perhaps people like violet are unusually good at reading them.


  10. I am certain Violet found a great deal of life to be challenging. It can be rather complicated I think, to be different in ways that are notable, and holding to one’s own self when that difference also brings on ridicule and perhaps even fear can be crippling.

    I think you have made a wonderful tribute to Violet here – it will reach her heart, I am sure.

    Nice compactness to the writing here too – really nice (per usual)!


  11. RICHARD:
    I really do wonder about the paranormal a lot. Sometimes I’m all :
    ‘ There’s no way that is real’ and then I start to believe it’s true. One of the great mysteries of our time!

    I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be Violet. Some things would be terrifying to see. As you say, it would be difficult to hold on to one’s sense of self. I would love if she could read this one day!


  12. Amazing, perceptive story, Selma–much like your real-life protaganist, Violet!
    I actually believe we ALL have some powers of ESP–though it may manifest differently in each of us. Unfortunately, most of us do not “listen” to what our mind/body/spirit tells us!


  13. LISA:
    I think that too. I have seen evidence of it so many times. Some people do believe we used to have a more finely tuned sixth sense but it has been conditioned out of us over time. An interesting thought!


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