Grim Reaper Encounters - Part I

I've stated a number of times, on this blog, I've had more than my share of supernatural encounters.  From the time I was four-years old, when I used to tell my mother about the "man in the closet," to my time as a 22 year old U.S. Navy sailor, spending a night at a haunted castle in Spain, I've had my fair share of what I consider supernatural encounters.  My memory of the "man in the closet" is sketchy.  But, even now, I remember the absolute fear every time my mother would open that closet door.
As a result, even at age 62, I am paranoid of closets.  I will share my experience as a 4 year old (as best as I can remember) at a later date (or maybe not...still unsettling even now).  For now, I will talk about something I have dreaded....the appearance of an individual whenever I was near the scene of death.  No, I'm not talking about my own death (obviously).  I'm talking about prior to someone I knew or even someone I didn't know, dying in front of me or near me.  Some would say it was the grim reaper.  It is the personification of death in the form of an entity.  Some call it the angel of death or the devil of death.  The Bible does refer to the "Angel of Death" when he reaps Egypt's firstborns.  In this case, the "Angel" was not thought to be connected to the devil.  So, I can't say what I saw was the proverbial grim reaper with the iconic scythe to reap the soon to be deceased.  But, I had five or six different experiences with something or someone prior to these deaths.  I was the only one who saw this thing. I'm going to relate two of those experiences in this post.

When I was eight-years of age, I was on a field trip with a number of third-grade classmates.  We had gone to Sea World in Biloxi, MS.  After we had lunch there, we went to a park where there were swings, monkey bars, see-saws and an assortment of other park activities.  I remember how much fun I was having and a chance to be away from school and home.  It was a very enjoyable occasion.  I had just gotten off the monkey bars when I decided I better go take a bathroom break to relieve myself.  So, as soon as I got off the monkey bars, I looked for a teacher to ask.  In those days, you did nothing without a teacher's permission.  I don't know how it is today.  But, back then, you asked for permission even for a bathroom break.    I first looked for my teacher, Mrs. Gromsley (not sure on the spelling, it has been many years).  She was sitting on a park bench with another teacher and a man wearing a long grayish suit.  I thought that was odd since it was the middle of September and it was probably 93 degrees in the shade.  I tentatively went to where she was and asked to go to the bathroom.  I looked at the man....his skin was chalk white and stared at me with these deep, black bags around his eyes.  He was also quite bald.  I looked at him and then asked Mrs. Gromsley for permission to go to the bathroom.  She immediately smiled, looked to her left to see what I was looking at, and told me to go to the bathroom.  I thought it odd she did not introduce me to the man.  But, I went to the bathroom.  After washing my hands, I went outside to quite a commotion going on.  One of the teachers was screaming , several other teachers were around the bench where Mrs. Gromsley and the other teacher had been sitting.  

Mrs. Gromsley had collapsed.  She was laying on the ground motionless and one of the other teachers was pushing on her chest.  A teacher apparently had found a pay phone (no such thing as cell phones in 1959 or 911 service).  and told the operator an ambulance was needed immediately at the park.  About thirty minutes later, an ambulance did finally arrive.  But, it was too late for Mrs. Gromsley.  I found out later from my mother that my beloved, gray-haired, third-grade teacher had died of a heart attack.  I remember crying about that.  I was not sure what death meant at eight-years old.  I just knew Mrs. Gromsley would not be teaching me any longer. 

Several days after my teacher's funeral, I asked the other teacher (whose name escapes me) who was the bald-headed man sitting next to Mrs. Gromsley on the park bench.  She looked at me with puzzlement.  "There was no man sitting next to Mrs. Gromsley in the park, David," said the teacher.  I insisted there was a man seated next to Mrs. Gromsley and he stared at me the entire time I was there.  She told me I had to be mistaken, that the death of my teacher had me seeing things.  I insisted that was not the case.  The teacher dismissed my statement.  I asked several other people who were near Mrs. Gromsley and the teacher that day.  No one saw any man.  Nothing.  Only I saw him.  I told my mother about it and she just hugged me.  No one believed me.  I know what I saw.  Grim Reaper?  You tell me. Yes, I was only eight years old with an imagination to match.  Yes, I had gone through a traumatic event.  Again, I know what I saw.
Part II 

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