Scott Hardie | October 27, 2007
It's that time of year: Among other related findings in a recent poll, 23% of Americans say they have seen or felt the presence of a ghost. And I got to thinking, how many TC authors is that? Anyone care to share a personal ghost story, or maybe an anecdote told by someone you know? Take it from me, you don't have to believe in ghosts to enjoy a good spooky story.

Aaron Shurtleff | October 27, 2007
Well, I, personally, am still in the skeptic ranks, but on of my brother's friends had what he thought was a ghostly experience once that I heard about. He was upstairs in his bedroom, watching TV late one night, and he thought he heard a noise downstairs. He turns off the TV, and then goes downstairs to check on it, but he doesn't find anything. However, when he comes back upstairs, he turns into his bedroom, and there's a big glowing handprint on the screen of his TV. [This was back in those days (for you young'uns who don't know this) when the TV screens were the huge tubes (I think it's cathode ray tube, but what do I know), and you could do this yourself. My brother and I used to do similar things, since you could make temporary images on the screeen after you turned it off. Has anyone done this and know what I'm talking about?] And he was alone, so he knew no one else could have done it.

I don't know what to think about that. There might be an explanation, but it was pretty spooky.

Jackie Mason | October 27, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Steve West | October 29, 2007
Associated Press Poll. The number surprised me.

Erik Bates | October 29, 2007
I don't think I've ever seen a ghost.

I do think I hallucinate a lot, though.

Greg Bair | October 29, 2007
In my old family house, I had a couple of odd experiences with TVs and radios turning themselves on and off. Once, the stereo in the other room started playing Sousa-style marching music suddenly. I thought maybe the stereo had somehow been switched on from "standby" mode, but when I turned it off and on again, I couldn't find any marching music anywhere on the AM or FM radio dial. That was weird. I can't say one way or the other whether I'd call that a supernatural experience. Just an odd one.

Denise Sawicki | October 30, 2007
Darrell had a whole bunch of odd experiences, mostly involving crazy coincidences and/or things like the TV turning itself off. He wouldn't want me sharing in detail though :-)

Amy Austin | October 30, 2007
I have felt and do believe. Not really sure that I want to share my stories, though... they are a little bit personal.

My grandfather, on the other hand, had some good stories from way back that are always fun to share -- partly because I thought they had good scare factor and partly because it was all too easy to wonder if they're true. Of course, I think that will ALWAYS be the outsider's opinion if they weren't there to witness it themselves... even if they are also believers and/or have stories of their own -- it's just the sad skeptical truth of human nature!

However... he insisted that they were true (I think the fact that he was always smiling when he talked about it contributed to the skeptic factor -- but then, I think he just liked sharing memories of any kind, because he always smiled when being nostalgic and reminiscing), and if he made them up... well, then I give him posthumous props, because I wouldn't have thought him imaginative in that way.

First, kind of ho-hum, was the cat -- that they did not have -- that would often be at the foot of his bed when he awoke in the wintertime. I can't remember what color said cat was, but of course I want to say that it was black. But if I remember correctly, he would only appear whenever it snowed.

Second, a little bit creepier, was the cellar noise that occurred "every day at dinnertime" -- sounded like someone banging on some kind of big hollow percussive object... something like a keg or big pot. I don't recall how precise the hour was, but it was always at dinner, he said. Said that they would go down to the cellar to investigate, but there was never anything attributable with the noise. Kind of creepy, I thought.

Maybe those don't sound all that creepy, but you gotta' remember that this was back when Greensboro, NC and its outskirts was nothing but farms... all rural country, with varying degrees of wealth -- the time when electricity was a privilege and outhouses were commonplace. To me, this automatically amps up the creep factor.

But the one that really spooked the crap out of me was his Civil War-era ghost lady. I say Civil War-era, because his description was of a fully dressed (as in long-sleeved dress with hoop skirt and the works) woman whose face could not be seen due to the fact that she wore a giant bonnet that hid it. This woman was supposedly seen out in an open field and apparently gave chase to my grandfather as he traversed this field to go home -- from school, I think. Said that her feet couldn't be seen and that she "glided" -- a movement which I always find creepy in the movies (which he did not have to steal from, you know), trumped only by the jerky variety of creeping found in movies like The Ring and The Grudge -- and matched his speed when he began to run from her. I guess she just disappeared at some point in the chase, and he would arrive home scared and winded. Pretty good story from an old-timer, I think -- true or not. Based on his insistence, I *want* to believe him, but like I said... hard to believe anyone else's stories but your own. The most believable "other people's stories" -- to me, anyway -- always seem to be the ones that involve the sightings and conversations of small children... ones that go beyond the "imaginary friend" variety, replete with descriptions that they should not otherwise know.

Of course, I have a hard time believing that John Edward is a fake, too. There are just a few things that he has "come through" with that seem impossible to derive from "cold reading" -- and things that the "targets" are clearly shocked by his knowledge of... very specific things that only they themselves had witnessed, were privy to and had not shared with anyone else. How the hell would he have pulled an experience from out of the blue about two sisters throwing slices of cheese onto the noses of cows and laughing about it??? They were clearly stunned that he spoke of it, and it was one of those private sisterly experiences. SURELY, something that unique would have tipped them off if they had been speaking of it somewhere in the studio where they could have been eavesdropped upon -- the only other explanation would have to be that they were plants! Otherwise... if he truly is a fake and somehow got that from cold reading, then he is Really Frickin' Good and deserves to have a show on these grounds alone.

Edit: Okay, so I tried to find some reference to the cheese and cows episode online and thought I had found it when I came across this: hits/misses -- found it funny that two of his "misses" involved, separately, cheese and cows (apparently why this link was my first hit on the search), and this lends doubt to the validity of the story I already mentioned... like he often brings up cheese and cows!... but still, when you read some of these hits, you really have to wonder how he could possibly have stumbled upon that information if he wasn't truly legit (Disney ring in bathroom... wrong brand of cigarettes buried with Dad) -- I think there's greater probability that the "misses" are just somehow not validated or understood correctly by John than there is that he can derive this kind of crazy information on sheer fakery.

Aaron Shurtleff | October 30, 2007
I'd like to have a personal experience, so that I would just know. I've gone to "haunted houses" (not the commercial type, but the actual houses that people say are haunted), and never saw/heard/felt a thing. I mean, it was creepy, but nothing. I tried Ouija boards with a couple of friends a few times, but nothing happened, even though they claim to have had experiences before. Not even a pretend ghost (my friends manipulating the Ouija board, for example)! :(

I think I must be just unlucky. Or maybe I'm dead to the spiritual world. ;)

Aaron Shurtleff | October 30, 2007
What the?! Is that a ghostly post from Lori? I see it in the Current Discussions (although it appears as "..."), but it's not actually here!

WooooooOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo!!! ;)

Amy Austin | October 30, 2007
Yeah, I was noticing that, too!

Erik Bates | October 30, 2007
I may have mentioned this, but I live across the quad from the building in which part of of the actual Exorcist story took place. Before the boy (yes, boy) was taken to Alexian Brothers Hospital (now torn down), he was taken to DuBourg hall here on campus.

Now with links!

Scott Hardie | October 31, 2007
These are fun. :-) Thanks for sharing, and it's no problem for those holding back.

Maybe mine requires too much backstory about my family. Here goes nothing.

My father James didn't get along well with his sister Mary or niece Sharon. They saw little of me when I was growing up, and I'm sure they saw even less of my older brother Bryan, who was estranged from the family. I didn't even know Bryan existed until after my dad died; he was a half-brother from a stormy first marriage. When I learned about him, I was 18 and he was 32.

Bryan liked clean living: Nutrious diet, daily exercise regimen, no chemical highs, daily prayer. He was a model of health. By contrast, Mary's appetite for cigarettes, alcohol, and bad food took its toll over the decades. When she came down with asbestos poisoning, her lungs were so weak that the doctors gave her six months. But she was tough and held on for almost a decade, only becoming very sick towards the end, when she moved in with Sharon and became bedridden on oxygen.

I only met Bryan once, after he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and his chemo had given us matching shaved heads. He died two months later, on May 14. His will to live was strong; half-dazed, he kept pulling the respirator tubes out of his mouth and trying to get out of bed.

That weekend was also the end of Mary's long battle with lung disease. On May 17, she had one last deathbed conversation with Sharon. "Bryan's here," she said calmly.

"Oh?" Sharon looked around at the empty furniture.

"He's sitting in that chair, right there," Mary said, pointing at it. "He says not to worry. He's come to take me away."

Sharon had not told her that Bryan had died that same weekend, in the same town

I've always been a skeptic, but as much as I enjoy ghost stories, like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I have no way of knowing to what degree Sharon's story is true, but it gives me comfort all the same.

Aaron Shurtleff | October 31, 2007
Scott, that is a really...I hesitate to say spooky, because I think the word is weighted down with negative connotations, and eerie is not much better, but..almost spiritually enlightnening, you know? It helps us think that maybe there is an afterlife, and your loved ones will be there to greet you. Thanks for sharing a personal story.

Now I really feel bad I have nothing to share. ;)

Lori Lancaster | October 31, 2007
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Anna Gregoline | October 31, 2007
You know, these stories are so prevalent, that even if there is no afterlife, or family members to greet you, it seems that at the very least people BELIEVE that they see or feel these things at the end, and are comforted by it. And that in and of itself is comforting.

Jackie Mason | October 31, 2007
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Amy Austin | October 31, 2007
It is cool. And like with Scott's story... why would a dying woman choose as her "guide" such a fairly *estranged* (and younger) relative -- one that was presumably still alive, since she didn't even know he had died -- if there were no such thing? Count me in the Fox Mulder camp on this one -- that was an awesome account, Scott.

Lori, I seem to remember you speaking of this before... was it not too long ago (sometime since 2004), or had you brought it up in another discussion for some other reason since it happened? I remember all of this... and I suppose I could just search the site for it, but I'm really just wondering if you shared this here very shortly after it took place. And btw... you never called me. :'-(

Lori Lancaster | November 1, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | November 1, 2007
I did get the privilege of meeting Eric on two occasions. He was a very nice guy, quiet and gentle. I liked him and regretted not getting the chance to know him better. Lori, thank you for sharing all of that.

As for John Edward, I don't buy it, sorry. Time debunked him and so have others in more detail. I don't believe he's evil like Sylvia Browne, just a fraud who we let get away with it for no good reason. But I've brought it up here before: (link)

Jackie Mason | November 2, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Dave Stoppenhagen | November 2, 2007
All I know is that Addison was up from 10:30 till about 3:30. She was talking, waving and laughing at something that wasn't me or my wife.

Lori Lancaster | November 2, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Dave Stoppenhagen | November 3, 2007
She only had a piece of twizzlers at 4:15.

Didn't really react at all we were both drained and I put in a 12 hr day the next day. Glad the week is finally over.

Kelly Hardie | November 3, 2007
I'd chalk that up to kids being weird.
Cause they are.
Not that your child is strange in some way, just all kids are.

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