I stood in the doorway. My wife was seated on the bed.
“What?” she asked.
I just shrugged.
“Did you say my name?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “Did you say my name?”
“No, I didn’t,” she said.
After a few moments, I said, “So, you didn’t say my name and I didn’t say yours? But we both heard…”
She just smiled lightly and shook her head in bewilderment.
It was definitely one of those hair stiffening moments. I had clearly heard someone I thought was my wife say my name, and she had heard someone, who she thought was me, very clearly say her name. And if neither one of us had said anything, who did?
We had recently moved into our new-to-us home and we didn’t know a lot about the place, but after this incident and another, my wife did a little research. The second incident is even more hair-raising.
It happened at three in the morning, that time of night when light and dark interact like long lost lovers. My daughter and my wife woke up screaming at the same time – three A.M. – because they had both had a nightmare, and as it turns out, they’d both dreamt about the same thing – a woman with red hair coming after them with a knife.
A coincidence like that prompts research and we discovered that the man who sold us the house had had an unfortunate accident on a cold winter’s night and a little girl had lost her life – at three in the morning. We concluded, correctly or not, that the mother of that little girl was probably the woman with the knife and that she may have wanted justice from anyone who lived in that house. As for the unspoken greetings between my wife and I, we concluded, again, correctly or not, that the couple that had lived there hadn’t quite left. Maybe we should have researched whether that couple was still alive or not, but we probably weren’t that brave.
This incident really happened and incidents like this happen to a lot of people, most of you, I’ll bet. I’m assuming that because if you’re reading this, you probably have some kind of affinity for the paranormal. You’re not alone in your beliefs, of course, fully two-thirds of the population believe in ghosts, or poltergeists, or spirits. But are they real? Is what you’re seeing or feeling or sensing actually the manifestation of a human soul?
Scientists will tell you that the existence of ghosts has never been documented. But we’ve all seen the videos and the pictures; we’ve all heard the stories and you and I have probably written our own stories, some maybe based on ‘facts’, some not so much.
But let me offer this; I believe in science, in verifying something time and again and then coming to a logical and empirical conclusion, but here’s an analogy that may hold water. There are two trillion galaxies in our universe, give or take, with billions of stars in each. Staggering, isn’t it? And science has concluded that each of those stars has at least one planet. But science hasn’t looked at those overwhelming odds and said, no, we are not alone, not by a long shot. Why not? Because there is no quantifiable evidence that aliens actually do exist. At least, that’s what they’re telling us. So, as we realize that billions of people have lived and died before you and me, what are the odds that some of them, or maybe all of them, based on how they perished, (and that’s another aspect of the whole ghost thing) might have stuck around for a while? Or a very long while, if time isn’t actually a thing to the other side.
Of course, it might be all wishful thinking, too. If there’s an afterlife where spirits frolic about and visit dying relatives or throw dishes around, then death is just another door to be opened. If so, it would make that final hurdle so much easier to digest, wouldn’t it? And mankind has had a love affair with the ghostly realm for thousands and thousands of years. I hesitate to branch off into the religious overtones, but they are there for you to ponder as I’m sure many of you have. The point though, is this, so many of us want to believe that death is just a stepping stone to another level of existence and I suppose this is where the religious aspect of all this falls squarely into the equation. But others, like myself, would like to think that science really can steer us to another realm of existence and so we may have conjured up the whole ghostly realm thing to simply help those wishes along.
Back to science, which says that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. If that’s true, then what happens to all that energy that keeps us alive before we ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’? It has to go somewhere, right? But its existence would be without that ‘mortal coil’, the tangible and physical nature of our earthly reality. So wouldn’t we become the shadows and innuendo and all those things moving about on their ‘supposed’ own? If our consciousness survives, which some believe is simply an electrical impulse, then an unburdened soul would have no problem navigating through our physical world. Sounds scientific to me.
What is also interesting is how we can convince ourselves that some ‘thing’ is lurking, spying or watching, when chances are there’s really nothing there. Our imaginations supply us with so many wonderful things, but it can also fuel our anxiety and sometimes even stop our hearts. Fear can be realized in so many ways, but when that fear becomes stimulated by a force you cannot understand, it becomes overwhelming. So, suppose that in the middle of that fear, as you envision so many things that really aren’t there, you see something or you hear something that really is there. That fear gets magnified many times over, doesn’t it? Let me ask this question, then – how many of us would spend a night in a place that is reputed to be so haunted, that no one in their right mind would even step foot inside, let alone spend the night?
Moundsville Penitentiary is such a place. It housed thousands of violent inmates, many of whom died in the electric chair or by the hands of another inmate. It closed in 1995. What a perfect breeding ground for a violent spirit, don’t you think?.
And how about the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum? It stayed in business for a hundred and thirty years and during that time hundreds of people died there. The spirits that call that place home date back to the civil war, and the violence associated with that war is incalculable. If you’re brave enough, there’s an eight hour tour.
The Villisca Axe Murder House is probably a venue you might want to steer away from, though. The ghost that roams that place carries an ax, the one he used to kill eight people back in 1912. The home was restored to its original, no frills, condition just to add to the ambiance. You can spend the night, if you like, but again, if you’re trying to sleep with one eye open and all of a sudden you see a shadowy figure carrying an ax, your imagination just might do you in.
They’re everywhere, though, aren’t they? These places that lend themselves so well to pulling the fear out of us like barbed wire rising from our bellies. And the realization of these fears only adds fuel to the fire. That being said, how can there be so much proof and yet there’s still no validation?
Ghosts have always been fascinating to ponder and I’ve given a great deal of thought to where they might be coming from. The obvious answer is that a ghost is the soul of the dearly departed, but let’s think outside the box for a moment. What if they’re time travelers? Some physicists postulate that time does not have a beginning, middle or end, that everything has already happened. Yeah, I know, that’s a hard one to wrap your brain around. But what if there’s a grain of truth in that theory? And what if time travelers, maybe even unwitting time travelers, find themselves prisoners to that theory? They just pop in and out of this period and that, look around, say, wow, this is crazy, then look for a way out? And throw in another theory about multiple dimensions and you can probably see where I’m going with this idea. This far-fetched and so unrealistic idea.
The point is this: humans know so little about so many things and no one, regardless of how smart they are, can unequivocally say that ghosts do not exist. And that’s okay by me because I sure do like writing about them. Happy Halloween!