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Living with Ghosts
(and other reflections)

Ghosts of Berlin, Part 2: The Berlin Wall

Original photo (see below) taken by George Garrigues in 1977. Transformed by Jacqueline Stuart to give it an atmospheric and isolated feeling.
Original photo (see below) taken by George Garrigues in 1977. Transformed by Jacqueline Stuart to give it an atmospheric and isolated feeling.

Originally uploaded from Wiki Commons. Photographer unknown. I didn't have to do much to this photo except apply an adjustment layer and highlights to brighten up the graffiti (see original below)..
Originally uploaded from Wiki Commons. Photographer unknown. I didn't have to do much to this photo except apply an adjustment layer and highlights to brighten up the graffiti (see original below)..

Conrad Schumann and his famous jump into the French sector from East Berlin in 1961? Getting permission to use this image has been difficult thus far, so sadly I had to remove my digitally altered version (above) from my book.
Conrad Schumann and his famous jump into the French sector from East Berlin in 1961? Getting permission to use this image has been difficult thus far, so sadly I had to remove my digitally altered version (above) from my book.

Berlin Wall, February 2016 | photo by Jacqueline Stuart
Berlin Wall, February 2016 | Photo by Jacqueline Stuart | I took this photo of the Berlin Wall in February. Most of the wall is completely gone, but they left a section of it, along with an observation tower as a way to memorialize the place. There is also a small museum across the street.

Original photo from Wiki Commons.
Original photo from Wiki Commons.

George Garrigues's photo. Thank you, George, for granting me permission to use your photo in my book! If only all permission seeking were this smooth and easy.
George Garrigues's photo. Thank you, George, for granting me permission to use your photo in my book! If only all permission seeking were this smooth and easy.
I meandered my way through the streets, shuddering at all the postwar construction, knowing exactly why old Berlin no longer existed, sensing history unfold before my eyes.

East Berlin, Germany. The Iron Curtain. The Stasi. Espionage. Hohenschönhausen. Death.


Not exactly a fun place to live in during Soviet occupation. Curiously, I wasn’t all that interested in the Berlin Wall or postwar East Berlin when I arrived in the city. My focus was on WWII, although I knew that I had to, at the very least, make my way to the wall, especially given that Hans was “insisting” that I go there.


I meandered my way through the streets, shuddering at all the postwar construction, knowing exactly why old Berlin no longer existed, sensing history unfold before my eyes.

I am a novice at sensing the spirits around me. At this point, I am unable to access the dead whenever I feel like tuning into them. It doesn’t come to me that naturally, and yet, when it does, it can feel more real than physical “reality” itself. And whenever my sensing moments dissolve, I get frustrated.



“She can see us!”


I could feel myself about to break down from the intensity, so I stepped away from the crowd that had gathered near me.

When I saw the Berlin wall in the distance, an unexplained force started to pull me toward it, knowing something paranormal was going to happen. I approached a monument that displayed dozens of photos honoring those who had been killed trying to escape East Berlin. I looked at each photo, reading the names of the victims, trying to feel the dead.


An overwhelming sense of sadness suddenly overtook me. I could feel myself about to break down from the intensity, so I stepped away from the crowd that had gathered near me. I walked toward an adjacent cemetery to take a few deep breaths and to collect myself, but as I walked the open field where dragon’s teeth and electric barb wire had once divided the city, I started to “see” hazy figures slowly walk towards me.


I realized that these ghosts were not the victims of the Berlin Wall.

As soon as they sensed my attention, I “heard” one of them say. “She can see us!”


I concentrated on the field, trying to make out the figures and when I finally started seeing them, I realized that these ghosts were not the victims of the Berlin Wall. They were the ghosts of German soldiers who had died fighting during the Battle of Berlin. It hadn’t even occurred to me that they would be here, or at least I hadn’t given it much thought, considering my sensory overload of taking in Berlin.