At 6:30, it is already dark. It's no wonder I keep going to bed early--I'm convinced that it's later than it is. Daylight Savings will not happen until November 7, so it will continue to be dark when I leave for work, and shortly after I get home. Any extra daylight won't last long.
Halloween is less than 2 weeks away. So far, I've listed ghostly children's and young adult books, ghostly TV shows and documentaries, and Victorian ghost stories. Tonight I thought it might be nice to tell some real ghost stories. And I haven't read these in books; these are my own.
I should start by noting that I am not the type that sees ghosts, no matter how badly I may want to do so. In fact, I have never "seen" a ghost--I have only been aware of them in other ways. One's ability to see ghosts has a lot to do with one's psychological barriers. A person who is a good subject for hypnosis is also a likely candidate for experiencing ghosts and other such phenomena. They are what you call "open" or "receptive". I tend to like being in control of myself, and I'm not very good at being receptive at all. I'm quite paranoid about leaving the psychic doors "wide open". However, with meditation and other practices, I've at least increased my sensitivity.
So, without further ado:
Story 1: I once lived in a house in Raven Rock, NJ with my then-husband. Raven Rock has always had an interesting vibe to it--the black, rocky cliffs seem to be bursting with some kind of earth energy. I lived in a house on top of those rocks; it was a rental, and we had another couple who lived on the other side of the house. On two occasions that I can remember, I woke up around 5:00 in the morning to the sound of heavy footsteps on the stairs. We had cats, but this was not the sound of kitty feet--not unless kitties were wearing combat boots. My husband woke up and heard it as well. He said, "Oh shit, I think we have a burglar." He grabbed a heavy object and went carefully out into the hall, towards the stairs. Of course, no one was there. The second time this happened, he had the same reaction. "Oh, just forget it and go back to sleep," I told him. "It's only the ghost." Indeed, the second time--there also was no one there.
There is another part to this story, contributed by our neighbors at the time. My neighbors had a very strange dog--it was part beagle, part basset hound, and part yellow labrador. The dog had a number of toys, one of which was a rooster toy that made a "cock-a-doodle-do" sound when it was squeezed. The dog had ripped the side of this toy, and the stuffing was coming out, so my neighbor put the toy on top of their fridge, so that she could mend it later. Several months went by, and she'd forgotten about it. One night, she awoke to a "cock-a-doodle-do" sound. It was about 2:30 in the morning. She was confused at first about the sound, but then remembered that it was the sound of the dog toy. Then she became more aware and realized that her husband and the dog were both in bed with her, sleeping. "Oh forget it," she thought, and turned over to go back to sleep. Then she heard the sound again. "Okay, now this isn't funny," she thought, and got out of bed. Taking the dog with her, she made her way down the winding staircase, towards the kitchen. At the bottom of the stairs, the dog froze and began to growl. "Oh no, we have a burglar," she thought. She quickly snapped on the lights. No one was there. The dog toy was still on top of the fridge.
We laughed about it when we discussed our stories, but I noticed that when her husband was away on contracting jobs, she always asked us to come over and stay up with her for awhile. It made her quite nervous to be alone. A friend of theirs who was psychic claimed that he sensed the spirit of a young boy--about 8-years-old. Not malevolent, just playful. Whether that was the case or not, I don't know, but it certainly seemed to fit.
Story 2: I was in Ottawa, Canada, for a conference. I could not resist going on "Le Marche Hantee", the Haunted Walk of Ottawa (forgive my lack of diacritics). I went on the traditional walk around the city, and one of the stops was the Bytown Museum (Le Musee By). There were stories of hauntings in the gift shop, and people had reported experiences in the upper rooms as well. The head of the group that ran the haunted walks was afraid to be in there by himself after dark, and anyone who had to lock up usually fled the premises as quickly as possible. Intrigued, I decided to visit the museum the next day after sessions, not expecting too much because it was daytime. I entered through the gift shop area, and started to walk around the museum, starting from the first floor. Towards the back of the room behind the gift shop, there is a mannequin wearing a soldier's uniform behind glass in a little alcove. Behind that exhibition is a spiral staircase that leads to nowhere--it is simply bolted into the stone wall. As I walked into the alcove, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I felt tingles going up and down my spine. For me, that's always been the indicator that something is--well, potentially paranormal. Suddenly I heard footsteps ringing on the spiral staircase, as though someone was coming down the stairs. As I turned around, the footsteps stopped. No one was there. Really, no living person could have been there--not unless they had been standing on the stairs when I got there, and they most definitely would have been seen.
I had a similar sensation in the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida. I was visiting St. Augustine with my family at the time of my niece's high school graduation. We paid a visit to the old fort, and as I walked into one of the old prison rooms, I had the same sensation, along with a striking cold feeling in the Florida heat. At that time, I did not see or hear anything, I just had the sensation.
Story 3: I blogged about my visit to the Red Mill in Clinton, NJ. I've visited there a number of times, but this was the time I went on a special event ghost hunt with Dustin Pari, Kris Williams, and Bruce Tango, all known from the Ghost Hunters TV show. Nothing happened for me while I was at the Mill, but when I went home, I had a curious thing happen the next day. While I was writing my blog post on the event, I heard a loud banging on the wall behind me--like a knock. I think the room even shook a little. There is nothing that should have made that sound--it was not a heating pipe, nor any of the other familiar old-house sounds. One of the cat's toys, a cow that makes a mechanical "mooing" sound, suddenly jumped out of the cat's toy basket and went off. My cat responded by jumping onto the sofa and staring intently at a picture of the Srichakra that I have on my living room wall. The feeling that someone else in the room was so overwhelming, I turned on the digital voice recorder I had in the living room, to give whatever it might be an opportunity to say something. But it didn't say anything, and eventually the feeling went away. The only thought in my head was that something followed me from the Mill. This was not a fancy--I had no reason to believe that was the case, it was just a thought that popped into my head, that I couldn't get rid of. I wasn't afraid of whatever it was, but it was curious.
Story 4: This one is quite recent. I'd blogged about a weird night when I found a spider walking on my chest. This is not so weird--I live in the country, and unfortunately, you do get spiders in the house. Fortunately, they're not usually really big, but I still don't like finding them in my bed. However, the spider is unrelated to this event, except that they both occurred on the same night. I woke up at around 3:00 in the morning, and looked at the clock. For some reason, I recalled the Amityville Horror case, and the business about the Lutzes waking up at 3:15 am. Suddenly, I felt something get into bed with me--it was a black mass with a vaguely human shape. It took a hold of my left arm. I felt paralyzed, and started to feel drained. However, I felt I'd encountered something like this many years prior, and I knew the right thing to do was to yell at it. I couldn't yell, so I thought of my guru's name, and immediately whatever it was let go. I then turned and shouted at it, and it ran off. Even though it was gone, I still felt that breaking up of my energy. Usually I think of Kali or Shiva at moments like this, but for some reason I started reciting a Krishna mantra, and the words of a Krishna bhajan came into my head. Immediately it was like the room filled with light, and my the breaks in my energy suddenly disappeared, leaving me feeling whole again. Still, I did some banishing work when I got up--you can't be too careful with such things.
None of these experiences left me particularly frightened, which surprises me--I would have thought that I would have had a sense of terror. But only the last one was moderately disturbing, and even then, I didn't feel fear as much as I felt shock. Maybe if I actually saw an apparition it would be different.
So, these are my stories. Hopefully none of them will disturb your dreams.