Guest author: Mary Smith – Unexplained happenings

Mary Smith sent me an email, recounting some of her own experiences, both of them observed close to a moment of passing. With her permission, I will share them here. I once worked attached to a hospice and heard many similar stories from the nursing staff. I have also been with my own loved ones at the time of their passing. From unmistakable odours, to a scrawled message no-one could have written, I have seen some very strange things myself.


Mary writes…

Shortly before my mother died, she kept moving her hand in front of her face, for all the world like she was trying to catch a hair in front of her eyes. When I asked her what she was doing, she said she could see her mother but it was as though there was a curtain between them, which she couldn’t move. She never mentioned seeing her mother again but she was suddenly much more at peace.

he other incident was when a friend was in the cancer ward. I’d spent a lot of time with him over a few days. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically and came home one afternoon. I decided to have a bath and must have drifted off to sleep. I started awake suddenly, panicking, the water swooshing up around me as I leapt out of the bath. For some reason I thought I was late taking my son to school but it was 5pm and definitely not school time. I had just dressed when the phone rang. It was my friend’s ex-wife to tell me he’d passed away at five o’clock.

I offered to drive her to the hospital as she was in no fit state to drive herself. Although divorced for some years, they had always remained close.

Several other people, including my friend’s mother, some of his carers and a woman he was rather in love with, were already there and we each took turns to go and say goodbye privately. After I’d been in I returned to the visitors’ sitting room, which was simply furnished with easy chairs around a large, low coffee table on which sat a heavy alabaster vase of artificial flowers. My friend’s ex-wife went to say goodbye and I took her seat.

Moments later, I saw the heavy vase make a complete rotation on the table. I assumed my eyes were playing tricks because of how tired I was but the woman opposite me, looked over and said, “You saw it, too, didn’t you?”

We wondered if it might be a draft from the air conditioner or the door opening but the vase was too heavy to be moved. We explained to the others what we’d seen but no one else had noticed.

The next day my friend’s ex-wife asked me about it and I told her what I’d seen. She was quiet for a moment then said, “I wonder if that was him leaving? While I was saying goodbye to him. I was the last to go in.” She suddenly smiled and added, “He always said I talked too much. Cheeky sod!”

About the author

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.
Mary loves interacting with her readers and her website is

Find and follow Mary

My Dad’s a Goldfish Blog    Take Five Authors Blog

Twitter    Facebook    Amazon author page

Books by Mary Smith

For these, and all Mary’s books, please click the links or visit her Amazon author page.

No More MulberriesNo More Mulberries by [Smith, Mary]

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather.
When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.
Her husband, too, has a past of his own – from being shunned as a child to the loss of his first love.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni by [Smith, Mary]Drunk Chickens and Burn Macaroni 

This book offers a remarkable insight into the lives of Afghan women both before and after Taliban’s rise to power. The reader is caught up in the day-to-day lives of women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia, sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether enjoying a good gossip over tea and fresh nan, dealing with a husband’s desertion, battling to save the life of a one-year-old opium addict or learning how to deliver babies safely.
Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working on a health project for women and children in both remote rural areas and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Given the opportunity to participate more fully than most other foreigners in the lives of the women, many of whom became close friends, she has been able to present this unique portrayal of Afghan women – a portrayal very different from the one most often presented by the media.

If you have had a strange experience or encounter that you would like to share, please get in touch with me at (or my usual email if you already have it) and we can discuss a guest post.

I am not looking for sensationalism or fictional tales… but in light of the response to some recent posts, I think it would be both useful and reassuring to others to realise that none of us are alone in these strange encounters and experiences and perhaps we can open discussion on what they may be or may mean.

If you would like to share your story but prefer to remain anonymous, we can discuss that too. If you would like to share your beliefs and opinions on the nature of these experiences, I would be happy to talk about a guest post. Through sharing with respect we may learn to understand our world and each other a little better.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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61 Responses to Guest author: Mary Smith – Unexplained happenings

  1. A nurse told me that patients that are soon to pass do this with their hands a lot and she said it’s the strong doses of morphine to ease pain that makes them see things that aren’t actually there. What do you think? I would love to think that you get to see your loved ones at the time of passing. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mary Smith says:

    Thanks so much, Sue. I’m just off to my Gaelic class and will check in again when I’m back.


  3. I have seen lots of people reaching out before they have passed, too. Also many of them call for their parents as though they are actually with them. I have heard stories of clocks stopping, or pictures falling at the exact time someone dies. I do like to think that we meet up with the loved ones we have lost when we pass away.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Fascinating post, Mary and Sue. I am starting to feel very left out as I have never seen anything like this but we have not lost anyone in our direct family. Maybe you need to be very connected to the person and that is why I haven’t as yet had any experiences like this. If that is the case, I am happy to keep the status quo.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Helen Jones says:

    I too have had some unexplained experiences when family passed, each of them reaching out in separate ways (even though we were in different countries at the time). And some continue to reach out, which is lovely 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Helen Jones says:

    Also, I like your thinking on the morphine. I’ve had a similar experience with it…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Finally got here to the party. Great post Mary. I am loving how so many different aspects of ‘not being alone’ are now being covered here. This is a slightly different one and all the more interesting for it x

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m a believer. My family shared many cosmic experiences when we lost our mom at age 53. One example…we’d been told her cancer might be in remission, she was feeling better. Yet the 3 eldest of us made an emergency trip home,(without consulting each other) believing she was reaching out to us somehow. The family that still lived at home were confused by our gesture, but she died a few days later. There is just so much out there that we do not understand. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mary. The one with your mom reminds me of a similar experience with my grandfather. It seems as though there is a time when a person is bridging the physical and spiritual worlds before crossing over, and a loved one awaits them on the other side. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jennie says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. These things happen. Others need to hear and read.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for sharing Mary. I’ve seen my aunt do that same thing with her hands while she was in hospice. She was mumbling too, although she was quite coherent and not doped on morphine. I quietly asked her who she was talking to and she nonchalantly replied that her mother kept calling her. 🙂 x

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Mary Smith is the next visitor to Sue Vincent’s blog with tales of the unexpected… events that at the time we can dismiss as a force of nature of draught from an open door.. head over and find out more about Mary’s experiences… stranger than fiction…. #recommended

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My mother thought I was her mother for the last few weeks of her life and would have conversations with me about dressmaking and baking cakes and made perfect sense. At night when the carers came in she would tell them to go away and get her mummy. She had dementia but she spoke with great clarity and sometimes laughter and I let her believe it. I saw the child that she must have been and she was comforted which made her passing so much easier for her.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. paulandruss says:

    This is another thought provoking article. This series is producing so much evidence of things beyond our comprehension, by people with no axe to grind and for whom I have abiding respect for as good observers, highly disciplined critical and clinical reporters and writers simply not given to flights of fancy. It would be utter foolishness to dismiss these experiences just because one cannot prove them in a laboratory or like me (and Robbie above – Yes, Robbie I too am feeling left out!) we have not had the privilege to be offered a glimpse beyond the protecting veil – Although to be fair that is a mixed bag because it tends to come at times most of us would rather didn’t happen at all! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Smith says:

      Thanks for your comments, Paul. Reading the stories people have shared has been amazing. You’re right, these unexplained happenings do seem to come at times when the death of someone close is imminent. I’ve been happy to share my experiences here because I feel Sue has created a safe place in which we can share our stories without fear of being ridiculed.

      Liked by 2 people

      • paulandruss says:

        Yes Mary, she has and that allows to people to tell their story openly and with a quiet confidence. To be honest although I do doubt a lot of 2nd hand reports in newspapers, books and television, where the primary focus is on providing a good story, I have no trouble believing everything I have read in this series is genuine. I have no idea what lies beyond or even the cause of these linked phenomena, and would not even attempt to explain them, but one thing I know is that one cannot certainly close your mind to things simply because they lie outside your own experience.

        Liked by 2 people

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