Have you, personally, seen a ghost?
December 31, 2004 1:28 AM   Subscribe

I know many otherwise-skeptical people who believe in ghosts. Further discussion often leads to anecdotes, or a single bizarre happening from a long time ago. Perhaps my skeptical mind closes me off to the experience. So I wonder, has anyone here personally, preferably recently, experienced the paranormal?

I remember being young and reading all about ghosts and etc. One of my good friends was all about the subject too. Some night afterwards I awoke, and headed to the bathroom... when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something. I really didn't, but I wanted to believe it was a ghost, and so I did. I had mentioned it to many people.. and after years I never thought about it. Years later, after some introspection, I decided to stop feeding the lie.
posted by adzm to Religion & Philosophy (51 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
When I was about 10 years old, I was walking down the hallway when something moved out of the corner of my eye. I turned around to see what it was. Near the front door was a man in a blue suit, but there was a white blur where his face should be. I apparently screamed for quite some time.

That was the same day that my uncle was shot in the face. My father says we hadn't gotten a call from my aunt yet, but I think we might have. I've never believed in anything supernatural (save a brief fling with christianity) and I'm still fairly certain that I imagined it after the call but before it had sunk in for my father. I remember seeing it quite clearly, though. Not the most pleasant thing to look at/imagine.
posted by honeydew at 1:59 AM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

I turned around to see what it was. Near the front door was a man in a blue suit, but there was a white blur where his face should be.

very potent image there, honeydew. i'll be thinking about this in bed during those final moments before sleep.
posted by ori at 2:21 AM on December 31, 2004

No; no ghost stories from me. And it's not like I haven't had opportunities. I've spent a considerable amount of time after hours in the most famously haunted building on the UIUC campus. It's now the English building, but it used to be the girls dormitory and from that time there are two ghost stories that every freshman knows.

I've never seen a damn thing there. My rational mind just doesn't believe ghosts exist.

However, my emotional mind is another issue. I've got a very active imagination, and although I've never seen anything I've imagined plenty of things. I can't spend more than four hours in the English building before I've totally freaked myself out.

So although I don't believe in ghosts, I also can't exclude their possibility. And I love hearing ghost stories ;)
posted by sbutler at 2:24 AM on December 31, 2004

Rationality is sometimes a cloth we put over our eyes in order not to see that which scares the crap out of us. Clearly this applies both to ghosts as well as American politics.
posted by Goofyy at 3:35 AM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

I recall a curious "cold spot" in the middle of a furnace area in the basement of a dormitory I once worked at. It was locked off from most people, but I checked it each shift as a security guard. Though I discovered it on my own, most everyone who had access to the area knew about it. Turns out that this room had been used as a morgue at one point during a particularly virulent flu epidemic many decades ago.

Not that I put any stock in that. Except when I hurried through on rounds.
posted by RavinDave at 4:13 AM on December 31, 2004

Not a personal story, but one that was related to me very recently by my mother-in-law:

Last year, she went to visit Scotland with a few friends, and they rented some rooms in the Roslin Castle. They had been told that it was supposedly haunted, but they hadn't seen or heard anything after the first week, so they sort of forgot about it. After coming back from some day trip one day, they were sitting in the kitchen, listening to some local music and trying to sing along to it, when they hear a loud door slam directly above them. Stomping down a hallway. Another door slam. She tells me that there was no upstairs in that portion of the castle.
posted by Plutor at 4:53 AM on December 31, 2004

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:09 AM on December 31, 2004

In my early 20s I was standing in a friend's kitchen, and slipped on water the dog had spilled. I was recovering from multiple leg surgeries, so a fall would have been really bad, and my balance was basically 0.
Someone grabbed my arm really hard so I could regain my balance. However, when I turned to thank who I assumed was my friend's mom, and let her know I was ok and she could let go, no one was there.

I had a red mark on my arm the shape of a woman's hand for a few moments longer.
posted by Kellydamnit at 5:46 AM on December 31, 2004 [6 favorites]

I have never had any first hand experiences with ghosts or the supernatural, even though a part of me would really love to see some real evidence of whether or not they exist, because I don't really believe in ghosts, but I would like to.

My family is filled with people who have had things happen to them. I don't know if I necessarily believe their stories, but they definitely do (and, yes, I would categorize them as rational people). For example, my grandmother says that she saw her son in her apartment in Queens on one morning, who said goodbye and left, on the same morning that he was killed in a car crash in Virginia. My stepmother has had strange things happen with all photos she has ever taken in her mother's house, the most eerie being that on an evening when all of the shades in the dining room were closed, the photo shows one shade being open with a face looking through the other side of the window.
posted by tastybrains at 6:30 AM on December 31, 2004

My father told me he and my mother were driving in France, heading for somewhere he wouldn't tell her about. She started feeling intense sorrow, which deepened until they reached the Ossuary
at Douaumont
posted by atchafalaya at 6:44 AM on December 31, 2004

After some trips to old steam tunnels and an 'asylum' we thought for sure we had documentation of ghosts. We later returned and found that each face in the window, man in a three piece suit, or odd light where it should not have been were all normal phenomena (albeit, very strange). I could probably show these photos to some people and they would believe.
posted by sled at 7:04 AM on December 31, 2004

I live next to an old farm, and some years ago the strange man that owned it died. anyways, a few months following that, I was coming home from a late night (and I hadn't been drinking) and I just happen to cast a glance at the field next door and I saw a figure of some kind in the distance walking around and holding a basket. it seemed like it was looking for something on the ground. after a few seconds, it kinda faded away.

although sometimes, I wonder if it ever really happened.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:04 AM on December 31, 2004

I saw a UFO in Oregon eleven years ago.
posted by tomharpel at 8:15 AM on December 31, 2004

When my mother was three, one morning she reportedly kept saying "Daddy fall down in his plane". Later that day, her mother was officially informed that her husband, a pilot in the armed forces, had been shot down over Korea.
posted by Soliloquy at 9:49 AM on December 31, 2004

I lived in a haunted house! In Jamaica Plain MA, me and 3 room mates found it strange that doors would open and close up stairs when we knew darn well no one was upstairs, and vice versa. Also THUMP THUMP THUMP. These were nice quality doors too, nothing a draft would blow open. Anyway, we later found out that certain contractors refused to do work in the house because-- it was haunted. Freaky. What ever the presence was, it defied logical explanation. Seeing as it was non-malevolent, we just sort of paid it little heed, except to say the occasional hello when doors would be heard opening and closing by themselves.

I consider myself to be a pretty rational person, but I take my agnosticism pretty seriously. Sharing space with unseen spirit forces ? Until I get a better explanation of what went on in back in J.P., sure, OK.
posted by Scoo at 9:52 AM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

When my nephew was very young, he was overheard on a baby monitor asking his newborn brother, "Tell me what God looks like. I'm starting to forget."
posted by cribcage at 10:04 AM on December 31, 2004 [14 favorites]

Not really, ghosts, but slightly paranormal: I was living far away from my family one Christmas, and as I was going around running errands I decided to stop into the local cathedral to sit for a few minutes and rest. I sat down and stared at the Mary icon at the altar (I'm not at all religious, by the way, I just like churches) and this sudden wave of "EVERYTHING IS WRONG" came over me. Not like just depression or sadness, but like a serious jolt of total badness. The world felt tilted and blurry, tears came to my eyes, I was having trouble breathing. I went and lit a candle, tried to calm down, and went home.

Several days later I found out my father had a serious (non-fatal) stroke on that day.
posted by occhiblu at 10:25 AM on December 31, 2004

cribcage, what a great story!
posted by widdershins at 10:35 AM on December 31, 2004

I've experienced a number of things that a have much more reasonable explanations, but which some might take as supernatural events. Books popping out of the shelf, light switches flicking off and on. I've seen things out of the corner of my eye that looks like figures, but when I turn they're gone. I don't believe in ghosts, though, or even in the pseudo-scientific explanations people offer up to explain why they believe things like this are hauntings.

My own pseudo-scientific belief is that the impulse to attribute things to spirits, though not itself inherently religious, comes from the same tiny part of our reptile brain that makes us attribute natural phenomena to God. Since this is the basis of my resistance to religion, I'm loathe to concede that ground for any reason.

... But when my grandfather died, we continued going to the ocean on fishing trips in his old truck, and every year for three years, it would quit as we pulled into the parking lot of the bait shop he always went to, though everywhere else it ran great. And it did creep me out.
posted by Hildago at 11:00 AM on December 31, 2004

I've heard some pretty spooky tales from friends and acquaintances over the years, but nothing of the sort has ever happened to me, *sigh*.

I think kellydamnit's takes the cake.
posted by greatgefilte at 11:13 AM on December 31, 2004

My wife has experiences like Soliloquy & occhiblu reported: She, and several members of her family, have the ability to "sense" traumatic evects experienced by their loved ones. The first time she did so was when she was 11. She was sitting in class and suddenly became hysterical because she felt as if she went through a car windshield. Blood and glass everywhere. Those around her had no idea what she had become hysterical about, so they took her to the nurse's office at school. About the time they got her there, her mom called the school and told them she would be by to pick her up. The windshield thing was her Grandma, who at that time had been in a car wreck. Her mom sensed both the car wreck of her mother and the hysterical reaction in her daughter.

Other notable events were when her mom & aunts similarly "knew" when their brother had stepped on a mine in Vietnam and debated whether to tell his wife; when my wife felt her cousin dislocate a shoulder from 3000 miles away, when she felt me "jolt" awake in the middle of the night on a trans-Atlantic flight (she was home in bed), and when she felt the heart attack that killed her first boyfriend. Oh, and there was also the time her mom "knew" her dad had been severely while cutting hay in a field not visible from the house; because she knew to look for him, they were able to get him to the hospital that much more quickly. (He wasn't due back to the house for several hours and likely would have died without quick attention.)
posted by Doohickie at 12:28 PM on December 31, 2004

When I was little, we'd go to my grandparents' house for Christmas dinner- the adults would all be in the kitchen, and they'd send me and my brother up a narrow staircase behind the pantry to play in the attic. It was a furnished attic- my grandparents had rented it out as an apartment at one point- and it was split into two rooms. To get into the back room, you could walk through the archway on one side of the wall, or through a little pair of doors in the closet between the rooms.

My brother and I were racing, I think, and he took the closet route, I took the archway route, and when we got into the back bedroom, we both stared at the unfamiliar old man sitting by the window. We didn't recognize him, which was scary enough (stranger in the house!!) but then he just faded away. We freaked out and tore downstairs, many grown-ups went to investigate, but naturally they saw nothing.

Allegedly, the back bedroom had been the sick room for the man who'd owned the house before my grandparents (who bought the house in the early 30s, as I recall,) but I have no idea if that part of the story is something my parents made up to make it an especially good story, or if it was actually true. My brother and I really did see someone at the window though...
posted by headspace at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

Reading these sends chills down my spine and raises goosebumps on my arms.

I once spent the night in a haunted house, in a room below where the main hauntings would take place. The owners of the house were completely comfortable with the ghost and it's presence, but I my imagination was so tweaked from their stories that I left all the lights on when I went to bed, just in case.

Fortunately, nothing happened that night.
posted by jazon at 12:59 PM on December 31, 2004

It's not recent, but one morning, when my brother and I were around 8-10 years old, we both saw a wolf-like canine poke its head around the door of the room down the hall. It just looked at us for a few seconds and pulled its head back out of view. We'd never owned any dog that looked like that. This was the only "supernatural" experience I've ever had, and I'd dismiss it as being a kid's imagination if my brother didn't still swear to this day that he remembers it, too.

As a kid, I remember reading several stories about people driving in the night and picking up hitchhikers that turned out to be “ghosts”. Not until I was an adult did I realize that these people were probably driving exhausted and imagined the experience. A few years ago I was driving home on some quiet country roads at around 3:00am. I could barely keep my eyes open. My tired mind created a very convincing fellow on a road bicycle riding next to my car. He turned right in front of me and I hit the brakes. I felt like an ass, but it woke me up for the rest of the drive home.
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:03 PM on December 31, 2004

I 'feel' people. Pains, emotions, etc.

It's rare to 'feel' people outside of one's own family unless they've known them for years.

Most prevalent is my second youngest sister who has a lot of back problems. When my back starts hurting [not a normal thing for me] I'll call her to see how she's doing. inevitably it's time for another surgery of some sort.

As for 'outside the family' I had a best friend that I'd known for 43 years. We all knew he was going to die soon, but no one was sure when. When he went [the Saturday after Thanksgiving], I was completely overcome with the grief of his long time companion [whom I've known for 25 years], yet the relief of his passing [no more pain] from him.

Hospitals are agony for me, even if I don't know anyone in there. The concentration of pain is unbelievable. I've been called empathic, but I'm definitely no Deanna Troi.
posted by kamylyon at 1:10 PM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine used to live in an apartment building where a murder had taken place. A woman's boyfriend had first stabbed and then drowned her in the bathtub of her bachelor apartment. Building management could never keep that apartment rented. It had the reputation of being haunted, and so people's imaginations would go to work and freak them out.
posted by orange swan at 1:11 PM on December 31, 2004

oh my goodness, i don't think you want me to start with my paranormal experiences because I’ll never stop. There are too many stories to even recount, but here are some of the memorable gems from growing up in a haunted house in NJ. From the time I was a baby to 16 (when we moved out of the house). We were plagued by about a dozen different ghosts.

First, aside from random knocking, dresser-door handles that constantly 'bounced' against the woodwork, thumping and scraping in the attic, glowing eyes through the windows, levitating crayons, and slamming doors, there was a reoccurring man and woman that were never seen, but frequently heard:

It always happened when everyone was either upstairs or in the basement, so basically it meant that the floor the event happened on was always unoccupied. Basically, you would hear the footsteps of a fully-grown man and woman (distinct high heels and men's dress flats) go across the entire downstairs in regular patterns. They would start at the kitchen, go through the dining room, and stop in the living room. It was a slow, deliberate pace. Once they got to the last room, it would start over again in the kitchen like a minute later. It was almost like a record player, starting again where it stopped at the beginning. No one ever went to confront it when we heard it, so no one knows if it was visible. Each episode would last about a half hour, where they'd take about 20 rotations through the house. This was also heard by my entire family & extended family on many, many occasions, roughly a dozen times in about 20 years.

1. When i was about 8, i woke up in the middle of the night to find a transparent, blue, fully-geared Eskimo crouching on my dresser. He was even holding a spear and his big furry hood was over his head. But he was of normal proportions, but only like 3 feet tall. He was staring right at me, but i was not afraid, and went back to sleep.

2. This anecdote from an earlier thread.

3. Another weird event from when i was about 5, and i went to find my mother, who had gone through the backdoor to our outside deck. When i got the backdoor and pushed on the door, suddenly there were 3-dozen large black spiders crawling all over it. i remember flipping out and crying hysterically, but the spiders were never found by the time my mother got to me (I went to hide in my closet). I’m terrified of spiders to this day.

4. When i was little, i slept in my parent’s bed until i was like 10 years old because our house was so haunted and i was a little scardy-cat. I would wake up in the middle of the night and crawl into their bed, although it wasn’t really allowed. Anyway, they had a very large mirror on one wall that directly reflected the bed. In fact, it was an old antique mirror that had been my grandmother’s before she died. I remember always looking in the mirror in the middle of the night after crawling into their bed, and distinctly seeing 3 little flying ghosts that would circle over the bed in a 'figure 8' formation. They had no faces or limbs, but were white and very vaporous. They were sperm-shaped, with big heads and tails that trailed behind them. They would skim the ceiling and fly over us all night, evenly spaced the entire time, and flying in a constant figure-8. Sometimes they would knock into the ceiling, and bounce down a little bit. The weird thing is that you could only see them in the mirror, and I remember constantly looking straight up above me, only to see empty space. I felt that they were benign, and protecting us all night. It was actually comforting, and I remember they would help me fall back asleep (very rhythmic flying formation).

5. We had a finished attic that was filled with books, where we would go to read frequently. One time I was leaving the attic by myself, and reached the bottom of the stairs. i turned around to turn off the light switch, and saw a man running after me down the stairs. He was running very very quickly and looked menacing. He was like white vapor, with very abstract edges, with no features. I remember he was very large - so large that he was running down almost sideways because his feet wouldn't fit on the stairs. When i saw this, i ran out of the door and slammed it shut. From this day, i still can't look behind me when i turn off the light switch in either attics or basements.

From the time I was 16 to 26, I didn’t see anything, as we moved into a house that was completely safe.

6. The most recent sighting was in 2001, where i stayed in a Hilton hotel with my sister and mother in Jerusalem for 3 nights. The room was completely full of ghosts, but management wouldn't switch us. Anyway, i awoke one night to a solid ghost standing at the door of the room, facing towards me. I had never seen a ghost that was completely solid before, so it was terrifying. She was huge, from the floor to the ceiling, very stiff, and her face was frozen in this surprised expression: her eyes were completely bugged and she had this full evil grin on her face with her teeth parted. She was an old, ancient witch-y looking thing, and dressed in an old Bavarian costume...something like the witch from hansel and gretel. She was complete with a hooked nose and a pointy chin. The worse part is that when i looked her over, i noticed that her skirt stopped at the door. This is because the light from the outside hallway came into the room from the crack under the door. The problem is that literally, she had no feet, and was truncated at the ankles. She was completely levitating. I awoke 3 more times through the night, and she was still there, but by the morning, she was gone. I got the feeling that she was guarding the door, making sure that no one was going to leave.

Just as a side note, not only are the hauntings visual. I’ve heard on 3 separate occasions during haunting events the sounds of gibberish. i think it's supposed to be people talking, but you can't make out any of the words. It doesn’t even sound like a foreign language. You can hear the tones of the ‘speech’ rising and falling like people do in normal conversations, but the volume fluctuates greatly. One second it sounds like whispering, and the next it is like shouting. It always comes from other rooms. The best way to describe it is if you take a zippered garment, and zip the zipper up and down teh track very very quickly. Icky.

I also have two events that concern huge black dogs. One died on our front lawn one summer morning, which was odd because there were no strays in our neighborhood, and our neighborhood was so small that you knew everybody's business...and there were no black dogs owned by anyone in the neighborhood. Another time my twin sister (who shares many, many haunting stories with me) awoke to find a huge black dog throwing up on me! She woke up because of that horrible pumping noise dogs & cats make when they puke. She said it threw-up on me, but nothing came out, and then it walked away and just disappeared as it got futher away. If you want anymore stories, or want more details, you can email me.
posted by naxosaxur at 1:31 PM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

A friend and I saw what we believe to have been a ghost or visiting spirit, that of her dead brother, a few years back. I keep meaning to write up the story, but I don't have time right now. Maybe tomorrow.

In short: I believe, and have had other experiences.
posted by Shane at 1:32 PM on December 31, 2004

I also have two events that concern huge black dogs.

Ghostly black dog sightings were once considered bad omens and were very common in UK and Eire. Google for more info if you like, or maybe tomorrow I'll post a bit here on the subject from a historian of "Forgotten English."
posted by Shane at 1:36 PM on December 31, 2004

When I was growing up in Vermont we had a ghost that moved with us. Supposedly he was an ancestor who had been a ship's captain in Massachusetts.

All I know is whenever we moved to a new house, he would be there, looking out the front door when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

He was there in my first apartment too, as the rest of my family had moved to Virginia. When I left Vermont, he left the family. As far as I know, he's still in my last apartment, although he did visit me the last time I lived in Vermont in late '95, early '96.

My mom thought I was nuts [most people do] but my grandmother told me the story of The Captain once, after I'd asked her about him.

She said that he was a retired sailor/ship's captain and he had died while watching out for his brother's grandchildren. Apparently he felt guilty about leaving them alone and came back every generation to watch out for a new group of children.

The reason he picked our family? There were 10 kids. The more he watched, the less his time in purgatory, or something to that effect. [Yes, I'm from catholic stock though we weren't raised catholic]

Even though my mom knew the tale of The Captain, she never believed it, because he only made himself visible to one child.

Lucky me. I do miss seeing him by the front door though, even all these years later.
posted by kamylyon at 2:10 PM on December 31, 2004

Shane, but what does it mean if the dog throws-up on you? *cries*!

kamylyon, we are very similar, especially with the heightened empathy. Also similar in that as much as the ghosts terrify you, there is a sense of comfort and familiarity with them, and you do feel like a part of you is missing when they leave. Also, do you find that the hauntings happen more frequently when you are with anyone else in your family? When i get together with my twin, the chances of something happening are increased.

Also, I forgot to mention the events that circled around our old humidifier! It was always placed at the top of the 2nd story stairs in the winter when we were little kids, positioned on a little niche in the wall where we would read, and look out the window. The humidifier was from the 70's, so it was basically a large round tub filled with water. There was a top with a motor that was placed above the tub of water. Twice when i was little, i awoke to the sounds of water being splashed around the tub. Not the normal sound of water being sucked into the apparatus - but this sound of aggressive splashing like someone was playing in it. I couldn't see the humidifier from my bed (although i could see part of the hallway), and was always too scared to look out my door. The worst is that after one of the splashing incidents, i woke up the next morning, took the lid off, and found two of my fisher-price toy people floating in the water under the lid!
posted by naxosaxur at 2:20 PM on December 31, 2004

Although I am skeptical, my mother has an uncanny ability to predict people's deaths, both close family and acquaintances, but I often rationalize these.

One of her premonitions that I haven't been able to rationalize, though, was the time that she saw her dead mother in a dream and was warned not to drive her car for a week. My mom made a big deal to tell my father and I that the car was not to be touched and she bummed rides or took a bus all week long. On the Saturday of that week, she went on a shopping trip with my aunt and another relative came to our place with car problems. One thing led to another and my father ended up driving over the the auto-shop, and wrecked the car on the way.
posted by crazy finger at 2:23 PM on December 31, 2004

Ghosts don't terrify me, living people do. ;)
posted by kamylyon at 2:51 PM on December 31, 2004

I used to believe in ghosts, until I was medicated for my bipolar. Now I realize that every strange thing I heard and saw was just part of my psychosis. I have not seen or heard anything strange since I've been medicated. I'm not trying to apply this to other people, as clearly not everyone here has psychosis. This is just my experience.

One thing I don't understand is why a ghost would scare me. I would think that I would be relieved to see a ghost, as proof that perhaps there is an afterlife of some sort. Nevertheless, I get freaked out at first if I see movement out of the corner of my eye.
posted by veronitron at 3:42 PM on December 31, 2004

One thing I don't understand is why a ghost would scare me.

Because it would be intelligent, somewhat alien, and its intentions and capabilities would be unknown.

If I saw my dead grandparents, especially my grandmother, I doubt I'd be particularly afraid, given the kind of people they were. But even then -- big events change people in life, and in death?
posted by weston at 4:34 PM on December 31, 2004

Several of my friends shared a house a few years ago. One night they finished dinner and one of the girls put the leftover lasagna in the fridge and went upstairs, leaving the other two chatting at the table. A few minutes later she came down and asked why they hadn't just told her to leave the lasagna out, if they wanted more. It had somehow appeared on the counter next to the fridge. They'd also hear doors banging and other strange sounds.

The house I lived in from 12-14 was very evilly haunted. Years later I found out that my mom frequently saw a very small man running around her bedroom at night. There was one room my brother & I wouldn't even enter. Friends refused to spend the night. I could see the shape of a large man standing in my parents' room if I stood at the end of the hallway. One day something started chasing me down the upstairs hall and I ran from it, jumping down the flight of stairs. Something else caught me at the bottom, so that I didn't get hurt. I didn't know anyone else had seen things until about 10 years after we'd moved away.

My mom just told me that when I was about 16, she was watching my brother's soccer game when she looked across the field at an old house and saw men & women arriving in carriages & old-fashioned clothes. She watched them for about 5 minutes until they vanished.

One of the things I noticed when I was about to purchase my house was that it felt happy - nothing bad is hanging around here. It's a nice change.
posted by belladonna at 5:46 PM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

I'm very skeptical, practical, atheistic, etc. and love reading, listening, and investigating all sorts of paranormal events. People have confused my enthusiasm for the other-wordly with actual belief. There's a difference between being facinated by the phenomena and actually thinking fairies dance about our heads at night. Having said that, here's the accounts that I've been told or experienced.

My little brother and I saw a triangular UFO flying over Houston, TX sometime in the early 90s.

My best friend had the ghost of her grandmother start to appear in the house hallway after a painting of the Virgin Mary was hung in the house. The ghost disappeared after the painting was put away. My friend and her sister also experienced the bed shaking and rising during the night. Later on, the sister and her husband had a ghost driven out of their garage through a blessing.

Interesting story about the nephew who asked the baby about remembering what God looks like. My mom always says babies laugh and smile because they are seeing the Virgin Mary.

And speaking of the ol' girl, when I was very young my parents took me to a local church that had her appearing as a glowing figure on a slab of rock. Even then, I was trying to explain it away: I decided the image came from a projector across the street.
posted by lychee at 6:57 PM on December 31, 2004

Just a note: I (and also Google) have heard that "Tell me what God looks like" story from a number of different places (including the Reader's Digest in my doctor's office), always second-hand.
posted by Jairus at 8:15 PM on December 31, 2004 [5 favorites]

one day i was planning to go to kalamazoo and a voice in my head was very insistent that i not go, even though it was the day that i usually went and there was a meeting with some friends planned ... it wouldn't shut up so i just said to myself i wouldn't go

on that day, at the time i would have been downtown, a tornado ripped through and killed 4 people and trashed the central city

i've had other psychic experiences but none anywhere as important as that one
posted by pyramid termite at 8:31 PM on December 31, 2004

This isn't really recent but it's my only story:

My mother and I were staying with my sister-in-law in her apartment. One morning SIL and I were the only two up. We were chatting in the dining area. I heard a noise and turned around. Standing there in the still dark living room was a figure I thought was my mother (definitely a female in a long white gown). I said good morning and turned back to my SIL. SIL was staring at me like I had two heads. I asked her what was wrong and she asked me who was I talking to. I told her, "Mom, of course, who else?" She said no one was there. I turned and sure enough no one was in the living room. SIL went on to tell me that she had heard pots and pans rattling around in the kitchen along with cupboards opening and closing when no one else was in the apartment.
posted by deborah at 8:38 PM on December 31, 2004

I had a red mark on my arm the shape of a woman's hand

How do you know it was a woman's hand?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:57 PM on December 31, 2004

Wrote these up for Monkeyfilter around Halloween.


posted by FunkyHelix at 9:00 PM on December 31, 2004 [1 favorite]

And just adding to those since talking to a friend jogged my memory - At night when I'm alone in the living room, whatever it is likes to hover just out of the corner of my eye, so pretty much reading my screen over my shoulder. It also paces behind my chair. I usually ignore it until I'm thorioughly creeped out, and then walk very fast to my bedroom.

Just recently it called me by name from down the hall. I walked down to the bedrooms and asked first my mom if she called me. She said no, but it sounded like my husband. Asking my husband got the reply, no but it sounded like my Mom.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:25 PM on December 31, 2004

I remember the first time I saw the Captain. I was 2 years old and we had watched The Wizard of Oz on tv that evening. I saw the first half hour or so of it.
I can remember that I saw the twister part of it. Miss Gulch scared me and I had a nightmare [which yes, I can remember].
Needless to say, as a 2 year old, I went to get into bed with mom and dad. On my way I looked down the staircase at the front door and there stood the Captain.
I was more afraid of Miss Gulch on her bicycle in the twister than I was of the witch or the ghost, even at that age.
posted by kamylyon at 10:09 PM on December 31, 2004

When I was about 10 I was laying on top of the heat register in the floor with my blanket to catch the intermittent blasts of heat. The heat came up about every 20-30 minutes. Just after the heat had clicked off the last time I started to hear very distinct voices calling my name coming out from inside the register.

A new voice with each iteration of my name, pausing only long enough to say my name.

At first it freaked me out a little because I did not recognize many of the voices. Then after about 5 minutes, I started to recognize the voices of friends and relatives calling my name. It went on like this for at least another 15-20 minutes.

Then, right after hearing the voice of my best friend call my name much more loudly when compared to most of the other voices - I heard the most evil voice ever call my name and jumped out of my skin and went running downstairs calling for my Dad scared out of goddamn mind.

Now here's the neat part. Years later, I was laying in bed next to my girlfriend and we were talking about having just spent Christmas at my parent's earlier. We were both laughing about my parent's getting themselves a karaoke machine and their hillarious attempts to try and coax us into using it to no avail, when something clicked.

When I was 10 my parents got me one of those generic Mr. Microphone type deals for Christmas. And it had this analog dial on it to change the pitch of your voice. So you could make your voice sound real high or real low.

Know who the first person I played with it was? My friend whose voice I heard so much more loudly than the others.

And from that I hit upon this theory of what happened to me that night. For some reason, my brain started "playing" "recordings" of the voices of everyone I ever knew in my life. Possibly in cardinal order.

That is the best explanation I have for what happened, and while probably more suited for an Oliver Sacks book than a Stephen King novel, it is pretty neat I think. I have always wondered if some of the voices I heard could have been of the doctor's and nurses at my birth in the delivery room or of my Grandfather who died before I was a year old. Or who knows what other interesting voices might have been stored up there? Like I said, neat-o-rino.

And that last voice I heard that scared the crap out of me? My mind's recording of Jimmy Nelson on the generic Radio Shack Mr. Microphone, age 11, calling my name with the pitch set super low the day after Christmas, approximately 9 months prior to the incident and my subsequent running scared out of my mind to my Dad downstairs.
posted by mortisimo at 11:01 PM on December 31, 2004

My grandparents have this Xmas angel type thing - it's a wind-up doll that plays some Xmas song. It's about a foot tall, and spins when the music plays. Or rather it did.

One day, it was playing, and we were all sitting in the living room chatting. It suddenly stopped mid-song. It wouldn't wind or play ever again after that.

The next morning, my great-aunt called and told us my great-uncle had passed away the previous night. His time of death was exactly the minute that the angel doll stopped playing.

I have more supernatural stuff that's happened to me, but that's the one that sticks out most in my mind.
posted by bedhead at 11:30 PM on December 31, 2004


Your "feeling" of other people seems a lot like what my wife does that I described earlier.
posted by Doohickie at 12:57 AM on January 1, 2005

I don't believe in ghosts, but I had something unsettling/funny happen when my wife and I spent a few days in Prince Edward Island last summer. We found a place that rented tiny little cabins by the beach and decided to stay in one. All the cabins were named after trees and ours was 'Hemlock Cabin'. Maybe that was a clue.

Anyhow, we go to bed. Zzzzz. Then I wake up and see a large, shadowy figure looming over my wife's side of the foot of the bed. A feeling of complete animal terror like I've never experienced before overwhelms me and with a wild scream I lunge towards this being.

Then it's gone and I'm sitting up in bed, feeling very confused. Despite the pounding of my heart, I try to laugh it off as a dream and lay back down. I lay there for awhile, trying to calm down, and then I sense that my wife is awake. I ask her slowly, 'Um... Did I just scream really loudly?" She says "YES!". She was just kinda terrified into silence. So we're both completely freaked out, but eventually fall asleep.

The next night she dreams that there's a man's face staring in the window at us.

Anyhow, I don't chalk this up as anything supernatural. More than anything, what freaked me out was seeing the figure and being convinced that it wasn't a dream. It just didn't feel like one.
posted by picea at 8:48 AM on January 1, 2005

Doohickie: yes, that's what prompted me to post :)
posted by kamylyon at 9:25 AM on January 1, 2005

I'm one of those otherwise-skeptical people who got ghosted semi-recently and had to make accommodation in my worldview for it. To preface the story, I tend to think that people are generally much more imaginative than they give themselves credit for. Combine that with things like night terrors and sleep paralysis and you have a ready-made pool of crazy ghosty tales. But anyway, on to the ghosting--

I was visiting a friend who had taken up residence in an old farmhouse, the land of which had been bought up by adjacent farms (or so I was told), making a lovely out-of-the-way place for young people to play music and such without bothering the neighbors. I slept the night on a futon in a second-story bedroom. In the morning, the residents all woke to work their assorted early shifts and offered me a ride into town. I, being on vacation, declined, and instead opted to "sleep in," as they say. A few hours later, as I lazily lay lounging, I was suddenly struck with the idea that someone was home for lunch. A look at the clock showed that it was probably a hour or so early for that, and I decided that the presence of a housecat (something which I am not altogether used to) had likely prompted my feelings of cohabitation. It was then, to my unpleasant surprise, that I found the bedroom was being occupied by something "else," as well as myself.

A vertical figure, largely indiscernible when stared at, but occupying an indescribable void (like staring at a pattern of polka-dots, but with an area on the pattern field that DEFIES ALL LOGIC AND REASON, except when you look straight at it, when you can see that it's just more polka-dots. anyway...) was standing at the door. Having no experience with such things, I was confused, and tried to figure out what the unpleasant phenomenon might be. Whereupon it advanced on me, radiating an air of extreme displeasure. I began to feel guilty, like I should have gotten out of bed earlier. At that point I reasoned that the best course of action would be to ignore whatever was going on, deciding that it was most likely a product of either indigestion or imagination, or both. So I did what came naturally- I curled into a fetal position, closed my eyes, and took to slow, deliberate breathing. Shortly, the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand on end. A quick peek revealed the angry indescribable thing/non-thing to be "all up in my grille." At a loss for how to react, I was then seized by the shoulder and given a healthy "get up" shake (hi Kellydamnit!), very distinctly, on my left shoulder. Unfortunately, the feeling of a hand clamped on my shoulder was accompanied by a sensation not unlike being lightly electrocuted, and the muscles in my upper back and arm all seized up with a pain that was like freezing or burning, but not quite. At that point I made the sensible choice to "book it," and ran downstairs and outside, and waited there on a tire swing, in my pajama bottoms, until someone did come home for lunch.

I began to then describe my experience to the young lady, who immediately interrupted with, "Oh, did you sleep in? Yeah, the farmer comes and wakes up the boys when they oversleep upstairs. You can just tell him to fuck off and he'll go away."

At that point, blood may or may not have began shooting out of my face.
posted by drumcorpse at 1:42 PM on January 1, 2005 [8 favorites]

When I was five or six, my family moved into an older (1920s) house. The house had two bathrooms, one which I recall always being terrified to enter or go near. As far as my parents can remember, everyone else used that bathroom except for me while we lived there.

Found out, just a few years back, that the previous owner of that house died in the upstairs bathroom that I was terrified of. We moved in only mere weeks after his body was found in the bath-tub.
posted by GirlFriday at 11:01 AM on January 2, 2005

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