Ghosts: My experiences and thoughts

I spent new years eve re-watching the 1973 film ‘The Legend Of Hell House’. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a haunted house picture based on a novel by Richard Matheson (Incredible Shrinking Man, Twilight Zone.. Etc), which is in turn based on the classic ‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson, which was brought to the screen as ‘The Haunting. LEGEND is a great spooky film. Lots of lingering shadows and empty corridors and fog filled exteriors with great performances from Roddy McDowell and Pamela Franklin, a wonderful actress who never really achieved the fame and recognition she deserved.

Anyway, watching it made me think about ghosts, spirits and all other manner of supernatural occurrences. Mainly, ones that I have experienced first hand. Funnily enough, I had one such ghostly encounter but days ago, which I shall recount later, but for now, allow me to express my thoughts and views on what is commonly referred to as ‘ghosts’. What they are and why we see them. I do, of course, have no evidence to back up my observations or theories, but that’s half the fun of theorizing. With that in mind, first let me begin with some examples of strange occurrences I have bore witness to. Do you have a cuppa? Yes? Good. Here we go then.

At the age of seven, my parents, sister and I, lived in a three bedroom house located in Suffolk. It was, by all accounts, a normal house. Built in the sixties; a time when councils and politicians were happy to pour money into new housing estates, even if the planners of these estates were only able to think in terms of straight lines, resulting in block upon block of identikit buildings; the houses reflected an ideal.: The nuclear family. In time, the estates, once clean and new, would succumb to rot, and future generations, each with families more broken than the last, would lend the place a feel like the nukes had dropped. The planners, councils and politicians, once so proud of their achievement, would turn away. ‘’It was perfect’’, they would say ‘’it was the people that spoilt it.’’ Ah, but I digress. Now, where was I? Ghosts. Ok…

Like most young boys, I loved toys. Action Man, Marvel figures; those plastic car tracks you had to snap together to make a road on which Matchbox cars could travel. These toys and many others made my days whiz past. There was one toy from that time that really sticks out in my mind though, and that was the Dr Who Dalek. You know it right? You can still buy them today, though they’re more realistic now, but pretty much the same now as they were then. Now, this Dalek had a small button on the top of it’s head (dome?), which when pressed would result in the Dalek bleating out a number of phrases: You will obey, exterminate… that sort of thing. Pretty cool right? Not when it does it on it’s own it’s not..

I was asleep in bed, when I was awoken by the Dalek announcing ‘Exterminate.’ I sat up in the darkness and looked over to where I had left the Dalek: on a table at the end of my room. In the gloom I could just make out it’s shape. ‘’Exterminate’’ it said again. Then again… then nothing. I lay waiting for what must have half an hour before sleep took me. It did not sound the remainder of the night.

The next night it happened again. And the next. By the forth night it’s cries of ‘Exterminate’ was annoying me no end, so I took the batteries out of the damn thing. Let’s see you exterminate now.

At what must have been around two in the morning, I was woken again. ‘’Exterminate. Exterminate… You will obey.’’ I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.

The following day I poked a compass point into the Daleks speaker then buried it under a ton of junk in the cupboard under the stairs. From then on I slept a little better.

The rest of my family were not so lucky.

My sister would often tell of an old woman who would sit by her bedside; something I learnt later that the neighbours children also recounted. There were occasions when my parents would see young children pass them in the kitchen, and thinking it was my sister or I, would order us back to bed. Only we were already upstairs, fast asleep. Ghostly children were also seen playing in our garden and on our stair. And still my sister told of the old woman. Watching…always watching.

Yet, for all this. The years we spent in that house were happy ones. The ghostly occurrences were just quirks. Little things that happened now and then. Tales to tell at parties, or camp fires. But not alone in the darkness. Not ever then.

So, do I believe in ghosts? Well, yes…and no.

I’m certain that people witness apparitions and encounter what we term ‘the supernatural’, but are these entities the souls of the departed?

Peter, a friend of mine ( and this sites guru) has often asked me (when the subject has arisen) : If ghosts are dead people, then why don’t they walk around naked? Not as though they would get cold is it?

He has a point. Perhaps, our spiritual selves still retain some measure of modesty as well as their memories. Although I’d like to think that I would remain composed enough not to run away like a Scooby Doo character if a departed soul manifested itself to me, I really don’t want to see my lost relatives with their tackle hanging out. Is anybody there? Yes, but can you put on some underwear before we go any further.

Perhaps, it is not an external force that brings us the seeing of ghosts though, but an internal one. Perhaps, unbeknown to us, we have the ability to recover images and sounds and project them onto what we perceive as our reality. Houses, buildings and places have long been thought to soak up energy, and store the unseen forces that our bodies, actions and emotions exude. A person sensitive to such things may trigger these energies and become something of a catalyst, bringing forth the stored information. Very much like tripping a video recording.

This does of course lead to another question: If that is indeed the case, then what about interactions? The cases were individuals communicate and interact with these entities. If they are but recordings, how is this possible? It could be the projection theory again. But, as an answer that seems rather too neat to be a viable.

I suppose we may never know. And this is what makes the subject so interesting. I am no expert on the matter. I am like many others, clutching at straws. Trying to find explanation for events that shake the foundations of what I think to be real. And if I really honest with myself: do I want to know the truth?

Earlier on, I said I would tell of a strange event that occurred but recently. I leave you with that now. Thank you if you made it thus far. As a famous writer once wrote: The dead travel fast.

Getting through my posts takes a little longer.

First let me set the scene. The place where I work encompasses three large industrial units (units 29 through to 31). These are large warehouse constructions, each with two floors. There are offices located on the first floor which run along the length of the front of the building, toilets and a scattering of offices downstairs, but the rest of the area is given over to storage. For all accounts, a normal working environment.

This evening, I was working in one of the front offices alone, as I often am. My colleague, Paul, had just said goodnight, and the sound of the entrance door closing signaled his departure. Suddenly, I heard a woman singing. It sounded like it was coming from behind me, just outside the door. Then just as soon as it had sounded, it stopped. Hmm. I put it down to my imagination (I’m susceptible to such things).

Just then, my phone began ringing. I picked it up and the caller I.D showed it to be Paul.
”Rich, it’s Paul. Just to let you know, there’s a woman upstairs in Unit 29. You had better see who it is.”
That explains it then. But, then I was in unit 31, a good few minutes walk away from 29. Odd. Either way, I leave the room and go in search of the mysterious woman.

I find no one in the office of unit 29, but hear footsteps downstairs. I follow the sound and find Louise, the health and safety officer. ”Hi”, I say ”I thought there was someone here as I heard you singing”
She looks at me bewildered, ”But, I wasn’t singing”
”You wasn’t? But… never mind”
She looks at me like I’m crazy then says ”I’d better check upstairs”
”I thought you already had?”
”No” she says ”I just got here.”

I’m a little perplexed at this point, but put it down to Louise trying to spook me (though I’ve only met her once before, so we’re not on playing tricks terms). I call Paul back to tell him all is okay, and it was just Louise. Whilst on the phone to him, he asks me about Louise (we are men after all). She’s quite nice, I tell him. Medium build, quite attractive, long brown hair.

”Brown hair?” he asks.
”Yes. Dark brown hair. Why?”

”Well…” he says ”It’s just that the woman I saw in the office didn’t have brown hair…. it was gray.”

I turned very pale.

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