My first interaction with a celestial being remains a mystery to this day for the simple fact I have no idea whether she was a ghost or an angel.

It was the summer before first grade and we were at my maternal grandmother’s house for dinner. As it wasn’t ready I ran outside to play. While I in the backyard I heard a child crying. Curious, I followed the sound, came upon a little girl about my age sitting on the back steps of the neighbor’s house.

She had very blonde blonde hair, was wearing a fancy dress, and yes, she seemed to have a luminescence about her. I remember thinking she was very pretty.

I asked the girl what was wrong and though I don’t remember her answer, I stayed and talked with her for quite some time, during which she stopped crying. When my grandmother called for dinner I invited the girl to come with me. Though I assured her my grandmother wouldn’t mind, she declined the offer.

She didn’t tell me why, just said “I can’t.”

I immediately asked my grandmother who the girl was. This is how the conversation went:

“What girl?”

“The girl next door.”

“There is no girl next door. They’re older like we are.”

“Maybe she’s a granddaughter.”

“They have no children.”

“Maybe some friends are staying over?”

“There’s no one at the house. They are on vacation. No one is there.”

None of their neighbors nor anyone in the area had young children.

At this point, sensing my distress, my grandmother agreed to go look. Of course, the little girl was gone. After careful questioning my grandmother suggested it was possible she was an angel.

I think it was my description of her glowing and not having a lot of – substance – that did it.

She then explained it was not only normal, it was common in our culture and – apparently – in our family though to that point it was the elders who’d had experiences of a paranormal nature.

A month later while playing Aggravation on the back porch of our house with my family I felt something touch my leg. I looked down to see the ghost of our cat Muffin – hit by a car weeks earlier – winding around and rubbing against my ankle.

The ghost of the cat seemed more solid than the girl leaving the question of whether she was an angel or a ghost unanswered.