I do not believe that ghosts with ectoplasm forms and personalities hang around old houses and castles. But there have many credible reports of people sensing something from a loved one who is dying or in peril, in circumstances in which they could not have known, and I believe some communication is possible.
Used to sense and occasionally see my dear departed first wife around the house. Haven't seen her since I remarried.
And our long dead cat Thor still plays around the house. He's always popping up in my peripheral vision, moving and playing with his quite distinct mannerisms.
And on a darker note, I've occasionally served on search teams. Some colleagues swear they were somehow called to a particular spot during a search. For example, one guy swore he was led to a hidden location by the sound of a woman's voice. And he did indeed find a missing mother and her baby. The baby was hungry and cold, but alive. The mother had obviously been dead for a while.
Then there's more than few stories told after midnight around a fire over hot coffee on a cold night at a emergency command site, where a guy tells of being saved by the voice of a long-departed loved one telling him or her to move, and they somehow avoid a wreck, a fall, or a bullet by the slimmest of margins.
A friend of mine would find paw-prints going across the cover of her bed, after her beloved cat passed on.
My eldest had interesting incidents with ghosts in various flats when she was studying in Edinburgh. Her favorite was once when she walked into her room in time to see a ghost-kitten scamper out of one wall and across into the opposite. Another time a hound latched on to her, would go with her at times when she went out, and moved to another flat with her. She was amused by friends who would sleep over on the couch, and in the morning ask about the dog they'd seen during the night. The animals she came in contact with were nice; it was the people-ghosts who would be crabby and mischievous, and the reason she ended up moving until she got a recently-built flat with no ghosts.
That was nice of your wife to keep an eye on you until she knew you were in good hands again! One of my friends felt her first husband smiling over her shoulder when she met the guy who she would next marry. They just want to make sure we're okay.
The best answer for me would be: I believe in something
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I'm not quite sure they're ghosts. My father and my dog (to whom I was greatly attached and who died suddenly in great pain) came to me in dreams and helped me let them go. I've never thought of them as ghosts or spirits. But then, my beliefs around what is beyond our mortal life is not guided by organized religions. So I think I just have my own take on it that doesn't really include ghosts and spirits.
My grandmother and my aunt had stories about seeing people after they had passed.
A lot of things happen to me that don't seem coincidental or completely serendipitous but not around spirits.
But something happened when my mother passed. She had been ill for awhile and in and out of the hospital and then into a nursing home, which she hated. And then she just kind of gave up and she got very, very ill and was in a lot of pain and she entered a hospice where she was heavily medicated.
When my sister called to tell me my mother passed away, this is how she told it. She was staying in the hospice room with her, sleeping on a little couch/bed. Her husband had gone back to my mom's house to sleep. The staff came in around 5 in the morning and turned mom... maybe changed some dressings. My sister woke for that and then fell back asleep. Then around 6 she heard someone call "Carol" in a quiet, non-urgent voice - the sort of quiet voice one uses to wake someone up - and she woke up. She checked Mom and she had passed. There was no one else in the room.
That's just how she told it. She never stopped once to wonder about the voice that called to her. I shared this story with a co-worker who had recently lost her grandmother and her reaction was it was my mother who had called my sister.
But I said my first reaction, in fact, it's my calm and certain belief, is that someone else from beyond called her. I had a strong sense of someone, maybe more than one person, waiting for Mom and they had called out to my sister to let her know that Mom was had left us and was now with them. And it was okay.
Even though I have seen something paranormal, I don't believe in the traditional appearance of a ghost - i.e a white transparent being that can go through walls, pick up objects etc. I think it ultimately comes down to my viewpoint of reality - I don't believe in a God because of my scientific leanings. Likewise, I don't believe in ghosts because I don't think they can physically exist (what happens when it's windy? Why don't they blow away?). Plus, there has been no proof of their existence (there are terrible shows on TV that are clearly set-up).
But then again, I have seen something. Years and years ago, when my sister and I were kids, we were playing hide and seek in the house. It was her turn to hide, and my turn to seek. Our living room had two sofas/couches - one against a wall, the other in the middle of the room facing the TV (so as you walked in to the room, you saw the back of this sofa). I walked into the living room, and thought I saw my sister (her head was poking above the sofa) on the sofa in the middle of the room. I said that I could see her once or twice, but she didn't move. Then, the head (which had no face, just scalp and hair) got up (to the same height as my sister was), walked straight past me and out of the room. Was it a ghost or was it my brain playing tricks (a hallucination, or was I just tired?) I'll never forget that.
And that's not the only ghostly appearance in that house. Glasses use to smash by themselves and my Mum woke up one night to someone peering over her.
Was the house haunted, or just a different series of random events? I really don't know.
Never had any paranormal activity happen around me and from what i have heard of other people's stories or seen on TV shows i just don't buy it. If they were real i feel like we would have some more solid proof than - i could see, feel, hear it.
I do like ghost stories and movies though, i think they are entertaining - obviously would be more scary if i actually believed they existed which would be good as i like getting scared from a horror movie, lol.
Don't mind if people do believe or not, or are unsure for me i just don't believe in them any more than i do faeries or flying spaghetti monster.
I personally have encountered a few ghost-like things that can't be explained, and I know other rational, skeptical people who have the same ambivalence about their experiences: something "weird" definitely happened (a glass smashed in front of you is an observable phenomenon), but they're not sure what's behind it.
My analogy is about ancient people and lightning. Lightning was big, scary, observable, and inexplicable. People tried to explain it, and since it came from the sky, and gods live in the sky, it must be from Zeus or God or whoever you believe in. Fast forward to the present, and we know it's more about ionization than divine anger. But the change in explanation doesn't change the observation. Lightning exists and is real. People couldn't explain it very well in the past, and now they can. So in the future, I am sure someone will be able to explain ghosts. They'll use words we don't have yet (ionization is a modern word), so we can't predict what they'll say, but they'll figure it out, and they'll see the same things we see but with better understanding.
but like Elizabeth, it depends on the definition of the word "ghost". Ghosts as white figures drifting around and through walls, occasionally wailing- no I don't believe that. But I have seen and heard too many things that I don't feel can be explained by rational scientific thinking (and I am a scientist by education)- well not as yet anyway. So yes- I do believe that there are phenomena which are "paranormal" ie they are outside of our current understanding and knowledge. Whether we will one day have an explanation for these things, I don't know. Science and human knowledge has made great strides, but I think it is arrogant to assume that we can explain everything.
In many cases I'm sceptical, but I'm open to the possibility of something we don't yet understand
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So, yes, I believe in something. I do believe that many so called paranormal experiences have rational, mundane explanations, which, combined with hallucinations, over-active imaginations, seemingly ubiquitous swamp gas, and people just makiní stuff up, likely make up the majority of ghost stories. But there are too many reasonable, reliable people who have experienced ďsomethingĒ to dismiss the paranormal altogether. Like others have said, I believe that there are phenomena that we just arenít equipped to explain yet. Some theoretical physicists say that we live in a multi-verse, and that the other universes may not be out there somewhere, but right in front of us. We canít see them because they are in a different dimension. So, what if what we experience as a ghost is a being from another universe bleeding through a weak area in the fabric of the universe? Iím just spit-balling here, Iím not saying this is what I actually believe, just an idea.
Anyway, I have a ghost story. More than likely itís one of those with a mundane explanation, but it has confounded me for years: My sister and I were walking along the medieval wall around the city of York. Normally the wall is pretty crowded with tourists, but this particular section was empty except for the two of us. We were strolling along taking in the surrounding beauty when I heard fast approaching footsteps. I didnít want to feel rushed so when we came to a turret where the walkway widens, I pulled my sister aside to let this person passÖthere was no one there. Hmmm, okay, I guessed I had just been hearing our footsteps echoing off the distant buildings. Off we went again. We seemed to have the wall to ourselves again, then distant footsteps getting closer and closer. Somebody was quickly overtaking us. Again I stepped aside at the next turret, fully expecting to see someone in a hurryÖagain there was no one there. We set off again with me listening carefully for footfalls. I heard the echo of our steps bouncing off the buildings, but nothing else. Then, after about a minute, distant footsteps. This time I was sure it was another tourist, I had accounted for the echoes, so this had to be a person. I could even feel the impatience of this person as he/she quickly gained on us. I pulled my sister aside to let this rude person pass. No one! And thereís no place to hide along those walls. Was it some trick of sound? Probably, but I donít know how it could sound like it was in the distance and then get closer and louder in addition to the natural echoes we heard.
(This post was edited by zarabia on May 26 2013, 8:15am)
Well, York has a reputation for being very haunted
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But that may just relate to the fact that it's an ancient city with a lot of history. But that does sound a bit weird Zarabia! On a fun note, did you go on any of the York Ghost Walks? Total hocum, but good fun! I love York, I go to an annual conference there and always find something new to look at
While I haven't, personally, seen a ghost...
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I did witness what some would call a UFO phenomenon; or it might have been ball lightning (if ball lightning can last for 20 minutes to a half-hour). What I say was a bright, blue-white light hanging motionless in the sky several miles away for many minutes and then suddenly zooming away at (very) high speed.
the second time you had that dream - knowing what was going to happen!
My first cat was with me for nearly 17 years before he had a stroke, and I had to have him put to sleep. I can't remember exactly how many days or weeks after that it was, that I was driving by the vets' and got a "nudge" to go inside, where I found that someone had recently brought to them a litter of kittens they'd found near a dumpster. I went home and got my 3 kids, and we all went back to select a new cat from among them. We were playing with them when the loudest purr I'd ever heard filled the room. My eldest was cradling that one on his back in her arms, rubbing his tummy - and he was the one who looked most like my first cat. We brought him home, of course. I don't know if it was my first cat reborn, but we all believed he'd been "sent" to us.