Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist, with degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies.
A dreary night
I have told this story in different ways on several writing platforms over the years. I share it again because I believe it will encourage someone's faith. In 2005 my oldest son was a senior at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. He was living in his own apartment but usually came home on the weekends. He always went back to school on Sunday somewhere between 4:00 and 7:00 PM. On this Sunday in April, it had been raining for several days and the atmosphere was dreary. My son, Michael Jr. was running late and I wanted to tell him to just spend the night. I recalled that he said if he drove back to school on Monday morning, he might be late for his first class, so I said nothing. By the time he was ready to leave it was 11:30 at night and I was really having a bad feeling about his going. Some would call this psychic ability, mother's intuition, or female instinct. I call it the spiritual gift of knowledge that is outlined in I Corinthians 12:8. I knew something was going to happen but allowed my son to say his goodbyes. I decided to remain in the living room until I received his call that he had made it safely back.
I prayed for my son's safety then dozed off on the couch. I began dreaming that I was traveling in a car at night and it was raining pretty hard. I was on an older two-lane highway and it seemed that the limbs of the trees on each side of the road were bending towards me in the rain. There was such an ominous feeling to the dream as if something otherworldly was taking place. I woke up shaken and tried to brush the dream off. Michael Jr. always took the interstate and would not be driving on the two-lane road. I looked at the clock and saw that it was 12:30 PM. and the hair stood up on the back of my neck and my breathing became much faster. I knew my son was in trouble so again I prayed. Because Mike Jr. always used the interstate it took him about 50 minutes to reach his destination. He should have called by now and I was getting worried. At that moment the phone rang and my suspicions were confirmed. It was Mike and he said he had not taken the interstate but had driven the long way down the 2 lane road of route 460 west. My dream had just been confirmed.
Mike said that his car had suddenly cut off in Christiansburg which was about 10 miles and 15 minutes from his apartment and he could not get it started. He then said that there was "something" walking towards him on the opposite side of the highway. He described what he saw as looking like a man, dressed all in white but he could not make out a face. He said it was limping and rocking back and forth as it came nearer. My son said he had a very bad feeling and wanted to get out of there ASAP. I prayed with him and asked the Lord to protect him in Jesus' Name. As soon as we both said amen, I could hear the vehicle suddenly start and Mike said that just as the prayer ended the phantom that had been walking his way disappeared into thin air. He drove to his apartment and never had such an occurrence again. I often wondered what it was that my son saw that night and as I began writing this version of the story the answer came to me.
There is a closed mental health facility close by the university that was called St. Albans Hospital and Sanatorium. it is not far from Radford University. There is now a new location a few miles away that goes by the name Saint Albans. In decades gone by, emotionally distraught or suicidal patients were placed in straight jackets when they were institutionalized. I believe my son saw a vision of perhaps an escaped patient who once wandered on that very road trying to free himself from the straight jacket. Of course, I cannot prove this theory but its the one that makes the most sense to me. There have long been rumors of "ghosts' haunting the old sanitorium location and on Halloween, there is a tour. My son actually went one year with a friend. he said he noticed nothing more than what had been set up to frighten guests on the tour. About 5 years ago my husband and I were in the area and drove up to the old building. We noticed nothing except that it was old and run down. My son seeing the phantom in Christiansburg and not closer to the old hospital can be explained as well. Having worked with mental health and Alzheimer's patients I know they like to walk, It's not a stretch that a man who escaped would be trying to get as far away as he could. 8-10 miles is not that long a stretch for someone fleeing for their life or who is used to walking. Perhaps something tragic took place one rainy night right at the location where my son saw the man in white. What I do know to be a matter of fact is, one rainy April night in 2005, my son had a paranormal encounter that there is no logical explanation for. The one thing that I know is true is that we called on the Name fo Jesus and the apparition disappeared.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on October 12, 2020:
Thank you Peggy that is so sweet of you.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2020:
Thanks for sharing that story with us. I am sure that your praying together was comforting, and I am glad that your son made it home safely.
OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on October 12, 2020:
The name of Jesus is a powerful name. All glory to Jesus.
Lorna Lamon on October 12, 2020:
This one gave me goosebumps Cheryl and I am so glad your son made it home safely. I also believe that our connections to others and in particular family members give us very strong feelings if something is not quite right. I have had such feelings about my own family members and on ringing them have found that they were either ill or needed help of some kind. As a Christian I believe that these feelings come from a higher place.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 11, 2020:
I do believe we can have premonitions or a feeling that something is wrong with the one's we love.
I am so glad that your son contacted you & the two of you prayed together.
It would have been scary for him to sit there with this apparition coming closer...especially when he thought it was real at the time.
God's power is amazing.
So glad your son was okay.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on October 11, 2020:
Yes maam. Thank you for reading.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 11, 2020:
Cheryl, This is a scary story and your mother's intuition is something I fully believe. At least it all ended well as your son safely got back home and you have figured out what happened.