Friday, October 30, 2015

Ghost Stories

For the most part, I'm a sensible, scientific Christian who loves Harry Potter but harbors no delusions that witches, ghosts, and magic wands are anything more than fascinating fiction.

But there have been a few times when strange things were afoot and made me wonder. 

When George was in navigator training, one of his good friends lost his fiance when she was hit by a truck while walking on a sidewalk. On the night before the funeral, he was alone in his bedroom, sobbing, when he felt someone take his hand. He felt a sense of peace and knew that she was okay and he would be okay. There was no one else in the room. 

The next morning, he shared the experience with his fiance's aunt, who immediately freaked out. Her sister, the deceased's mother, had just told her about having the exact same experience the night before. 

George and I made a pact that whichever of us dies first will come back and hold the still-living's hand for comfort.  

The only other unexplained experiences George and I have had all happened in our home in Boise, Idaho. Very shortly after we moved in, we were asleep, and I awoke to the sound of someone knocking on the sliding door in our bedroom. We didn't have curtains up yet, and with the neighborhood lights, I could see quite clearly that no one was there.  

When I told George about it the next morning, he claimed I dreamed it, but it didn't feel at all like that.  

Some nights later, with a light snow on the ground, we both awoke to knocking on the glass door. The snow was pristine, not a footprint in sight. 

George believed me. 

One Friday night, I taught a class at Boise State's weekend university program. George wanted to go out with friends, so he told me he might hitch a ride with them and meet me downtown at a bar when I got off work. If he couldn't get a ride, he'd be home waiting for me. 

I pulled into the garage next to George's car. Still not knowing whether he was home, I entered the house yelling, "Are you home?" Quite clearly from the guest room, I heard George reply, "I'm in here!" 

This surprised me, but I headed to the guest room.

There was no one there. 

No. one. 

George was already downtown with our friends.

Oddly, I didn't feel the least bit threatened or creeped out. The dogs, who were crated, acted as if all was normal. When I let them out, they weren't interested in the guest room or anything other than greeting me with the lunatic dance of unrestrained dog joy upon sighting the mistress (to paraphrase Dave Barry). 

Given our experience with the knocks on the glass door, George withheld judging my experience with his disembodied voice as a sign of impending mental breakdown. After all, when the final strangeness hit, we knew for sure it wasn't just me.

George was sitting on the bed and out of the corner of his eye saw a small brown puppy run across the bathroom toward the closet. It was definitely not one of our dogs. 

Perhaps our house was built over a giant reservoir of hallucinogenic gas that slowly leaked inside, causing auditory and visual disturbances for us both. I mean, if we were really crazy, don't you think our symptoms would have gotten worse over time? Right?

What I like about all of these stories is how the supernatural (or simply inexplicable) events were not at all scary or threatening. In fact, they were either benign or comforting.

And those are ghost stories a person can live with.


  1. I'd be so spooked! But yeah, at least none of it was scary stuff. Well, maybe the knock on a sliding door without curtains ...

  2. So many things happened to me after my Dad died. He had a big presence and a big personality to go with it. Still to this day, I will walk out of my bathroom and smell his cigarette smoke..he smoked a specific kind of cigarette and none of us smoke and the windows are closed when I smell it. My youngest can smell it plain as day and so can I but not my DH. I could tell you stories and how he is so ever present in my life. I like to think of him as my guardian angel...he watched over me in life and now from Heaven. Wish I could feel my mom's presence as strong. She was my best friend and I would do anything to just hold her hand one more time.
    Have a great wknd and a Happy Halloween mf. We are looking forward to seeing all the little faces at our door tonight and enjoyed a fun party with my little kiddos the other day. They really bring magic to my life! Can't wait to be a Grandma someday.

    1. Oh, Karen! How wonderful that your Dad is still around, even in such an ephemeral way as the smell of smoke.

  3. Thanks for sharing these stories. I really like the idea of one's deceased partner coming to hold your hand to let you know everything is and will be fine.

  4. I feel like I am going to pour cold water on these feelings, so I will not explain these happenings in the comments. Susan, if you wish to know what is really happening, please email me. Interesting introduction you made though. All Christians believe in science, but not all Christians believe in the Bible......


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