Mirror, Mirror on the
"Copyright Owen Jones 2012 (c)"
By: Owen Jones
It was totally unexpected, because my father had always been a
keen enthusiast of filming. From Super 8 to modern camcorders, he had embraced filming technology and was proud of
When he died a few years ago, he left me all his films, but it was
only a few weeks ago that I started to play them to my own family since they were at the age where they were
starting to ask about their ancestry.
I had hundreds of cassettes and memory cards, so my wife and I
decided to play four every Saturday night, before our young children went to bed. We thought it would help wean
them off the bad television programmes they had gotten used to watching.
All the items were dated, so it was not difficult to start from
the beginning, which is what we did. Most of these early Super 8's were about family outings with grandparents,
uncles and aunties, cousins and me and my brothers.
They were happy videos of us playing games such as putting and
rounders and our kids loved to see the members of their family that they had never met and rarely heard
Last night, one of the films showed me leaning over to give Nana
'wages', which was her expression for giving her a goodbye kiss.
My father was clearly visible in the mirror on the wall next to
Nana with his cine camera in his hands. However, there was a woman standing next to him, whom I did not recognise
This was not a problem and no one asked who she
However, I was curious. I had been very young myself when the film
was taken, just eight or nine years old, so I was not surprised that I didn't know who she was either. I decided to
have another look at the film on Sunday morning.
When it got to that part, the woman in the mirror could be
heard to say quite clearly: "We have never met, but you are my great grandson. I am your grandmother's
I was sure that she had not spoken the night before, but I called
my wife and asked her to watch the film again. When it got to that part, the woman said: "I will always be here to
help you, great grandson. All you have to do is ask".
My wife said that she didn't remember that from the night before,
but it wasn't what I had heard that morning either.
We played it a few times more, but nothing was said, although the
woman's face in the mirror was still there next to my father.
I could not let it drop. I knew that I had heard no message and
two different messages at the same point in the film, but every time I played it, there was no voice. It was
driving me crazy.
I played the tape over and over again, but there was nothing
As I played it again, I said in frustration: "Am I going mad
When it got to that part, great grandmother said from the mirror:
"No, son, you are not going mad".
by Owen Jones
(c) Owen Jones 28th November,
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