I believe in ghosts.
In fact I don’t just believe, I KNOW they exist. I’ve seen them once or twice and there just isn’t any coming back from that.
When I was 8 – 9 years old I lived in a medium sized two story house. My family had moved around a bit before then and we were renting this house as well.
The basement was innocuous enough – unfinished so we basically used it for storage. The only time I ever went down there was to release our family dog from his kennel when I got home from school. I remember the smell of dust and the feel of stones under my feet.
The main floor was where my parents and my little brother slept. It was also home to the kitchen and the living room. When you went out the door from the living room and walked straight you came to the stairs heading up to the third floor.
The stairs led up to a long hallway. On the left two doors – the first a playroom full of toys. A playroom neither myself nor my brother EVER used. Especially not after dark. We would get whatever toys we wanted and bring them downstairs.
The second door was my bedroom. Large and bright yellow and decorated with cartoon bird wallpaper. I had my own bathroom (though the toilet didn’t work) and lots of space.
I also shared the upstairs with a ghost.
I remember every night laying in my bed, the covers pulled up tight, listening. Listening to the creaking and the groaning. The light shuffling and the momentary pauses (those were the worst because of silence). Up and down the hall the noises paced. Starting at the stairway and towards my room. When the footsteps reached my door they would stop momentarily, as if deciding whether or not to come in. Then they would walk back down towards the stairs. I know this happened more than once but I couldn’t tell you how long the ghost paced or how many nights they appeared.
My dad would tell you that it was merely the house settling. But I know different.
One morning I’ll never forget, I awoke earlier than all my family. I hurried downstairs to catch my beloved Saturday morning cartoons. As I stepped down the last few steps I saw something floating in the air up by the ceiling. A green mass that looked oddly hand shaped. It floated down the hallway, turned right and disappeared into the door of my parent’s bedroom. I ran to my brother’s room and woke him up just so I would have the company, I was so shaken up by the apparition.
That’s all I remember from that house – we lived there about three years – but it sparked an interest in the paranormal that has followed me throughout my life. I began reading books on ghosts and hauntings. I turned my scary experience into a story for school called “The Green Hand” (which led to my friends being quite afraid to sleep over after that).
One of my favourite scary books from those years was “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”. Apparently this was also a favourite of many other children as well! The stories were creepy (I can still recite most of the poem about not laughing as the hearse goes by) but by far it was the illustrations that have stuck with me to this day. They recently redid the illustrations for a less gruesome look but I will always love the old ones.
See? Now THOSE are the stuff nightmares are made of.
But it was the real thrills and not the artificial ones I sought. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons I’m such a Ghostbusters fan – and Ray Stanz was my favourite character – I seek the truth when it comes the paranormal. I get excited when I think I may be experiencing something out of the ordinary. I love shows like Ghosthunters, Destination Truth and Celebrity Ghost Stories. I long to take a camera and a recorder into some unknown place and find my own evidence.
Not that I’m saying I see ghosts all the time. Quite the contrary actually. But perhaps because I am open to it I have had one or two more experiences than your average person.
There was the nightclub I helped paint with it’s mysterious wall writings, swinging chains, weird noises at night and whispers in your ear.
There’s the restaurant in a mansion I visited where I got “that funny feeling” on the stairway and come to find out later the mansion was home to tragedy – a maid hung herself on those very stairs.
There was the full-body shadow I saw at a local pub while stealing a look into their basement. The one with the baseball cap and collared shirt.
As I said, you just can’t go back from that, y’know?
Do you have any personal “ghost stories” to share? I’d love to hear them!