Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ghost Stories

I've been thinking a lot about ghosts this weekend, as I do periodically. I love the ghost hoax photos of the 19th century (see above), and I love reading ghost stories. I adore getting that chilly spooked feeling--I find it both delightful and heartening. And I will tell you a secret: I do believe in ghosts, as surely as I believe in myself.

Here's my own true ghost story, as it happened to me.

My father died in January 2005, at home, after a long illness. He died in his comfy easy chair, in his living room, with us at his side. The next day, we visited him for the last time at the funeral home. When I bent down to say goodbye, I whispered a little wish, "dad, please, I would love a spooky visitation from you." Just those exact words. I don't know why I did this, except that maybe I didn't want to say a final goodbye, and maybe I knew that he always knew my penchant for the macabre, the eerie, and the supernatural, and might enjoy hearing, and even honoring, this somewhat silly but nonetheless heartfelt request. I felt foolish, but I meant it. Somehow I thought he might understand.

That night, after a restless evening, I settled down to sleep. Out of habit, I placed my cell phone on the bed beside me. I had done this the last night of dad's life, when we left him for a few hours with his carer, to go home and rest a bit. I had programmed his phone so that he could press send and reach me, without having to dial the numbers.

Anyway, I did finally fall asleep and slept soundly until, in the very heavy, chilly dark of an early winter morning, I was startled awake by something. It took me a moment to get my bearings, and then I realized it was my cell phone ringing, insistently ringing right next to me. I grasped for it in the dark room, finding it by the little light of its screen...on which showed, clearly, my father's cell phone number. I blinked, looked again, literally rubbed my eyes to get the sleep out of them...but it was his number. When we left his apartment the day he died, we made sure to leave the cell phone, along with his glasses, the NY Times crossword puzzle, and his familiar gold Cross pen, on the little table next to his easy chair...

In the night, in bed, I picked up my phone and listened. What did I hear? My own voice, a message I had left for my dad on my birthday, January 8th, a week or so before he died. It said "Dad, where are you? I can't get hold of you by me back if you get this..."

When I hung up the phone, I could see by its clock that it was nearly 4 a.m. I lay there for a long time, until the first light.

And that's my story, and it's all true. I'm still not sure exactly what it means, except that I really like to believe that dad had his odd sense of humor, even after the very end, and I got my "spooky visitation" as I dearly wished I would.

Now I pose it to any readers out there. Do you have a story for us, something that happened to you? If so, I would absolutely love to hear it. Please do share; I know I'm not the only one!


Too Little Time said...

Josh was about 2 and being a bit mouth to DH and me. He was standing in between both of us but too far for either of us to reach. All of a sudden he went forward - belly first - like he had been spanked and started to cry. We figure it was Alan's GM (who died in 1980) cause he was being sassy.

Too Little Time said...

As a young child Josh always use to talk about his "workshop". He would take things there or go to figure things out. He workshop was part of his frequent conversation. He would talk about "Poppy" being there with him helping him. Pop had died when Josh was 2. When he was about 4-5 we asked Josh about it one day and he burst into tears - they said that he couldn't come back anymore cause he was getting too big and he was inconsoleable.

Occ. we ask him about it and though he still remember his workshop he hasn't been allowed to go back and still gets very upset about it.

CSI Seattle said...

Despite my years of working around persons who have suffered often violent deaths, I have yet to have any unusual experiences.

My cell phone often rings in the dead of the night (no pun intended) but it usually me being called into work.

I will say however, if I had experienced what you did, even if I had made a request for my father to contact me, I would have smashed my cell phone and changed my number. That would have freaked me out. But an interesting story none the less.

muralimanohar said...

I've had a few encounters, but nothing major to write home about...I have a lot of sensitive friends, though, and I married into a family with a very sensitive MIL and BIL, lol. Lots of stories around here. :p

Suzanne said...

I'll be back later to read this. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for your kind words and support. Cross your fingers honey.

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

As you know, my dad died 6 years ago in Cleveland. When I drove home (in his car) I certainly felt like there was another presence with me in the car telling me to have fun and enjoy the drive (it was a nice car).

But when I got home and could not get the images of him being sick out of my head, I remember waking up after being really asleep and seeing him poke his head into our room just to make sure everything was okay. He didn't say anything, but he was looking like he did before he got sick. It helped me sleep and helped me turn that corner in my grieving process.

Kim said...

What an awesome story- it gave me goosebumps. I don't have any ghost stories to share, but I'll enjoy reading those in the comments.

faycat said...

That is amazing story, and I have no doubt that it was your father. I kind of believe in that stuff, too. I never had an experience that was exactly a ghostly experience, but a few days after my beloved beagle Whiskey died, I had a dream where I saw Whiskey running around with my childhood cat Charlie. And Charlie came up to me and said (sort of telepathically, because he didn't move his lips in a lame animated movie sort of way), that Whiskey would be just fine and he was having a great time, that Charlie would take care of him. When I woke up, I really really believed that they were together, and I felt so much better.

Suzanne said...

I love your story and I believe your dad called. I loved my grandmother with all my heart and when she died I whispered "please don't leave me." I couldn't imagine life without her and she's never failed me. Never. She shows up mostly when I'm working in the garden and we chat about various plants. Yup, right out loud. She's there. I can feel her. Then one night I had a dream and she was the focus. I woke up, eyes wide open and there she was, like a ghost and I reached out and said "Ma" (we called her Ma) and I could feel her hug me and the comfort it brought. I remember saying out loud, "Please don't leave me." But she did. I laid along time crying, trying to remember her face. She was there, but couldn't stay. I don't think people or animals you love ever, ever, ever go away. Even with eyes wide open.

Thank you for this post. It helped me.

P.S. I'm sorry your dad had to leave you.

Leah said...

Ech, I tried to post comments to all and sundry and somehow the "machine" ate them. Will try again later...but I love hearing ghost stories!!!!!

ShutterSpy said...

It's a really interesting story, but I don't belive in ghosts.

So many of them occur around sleep too. I've had hypnopompic hallucinations involving things like canal barges on my ceiling and mountains in my alarms clock and they feel very, very real.

Leah said...

Shutterspy, that's true--that these visitations occur most often when one is half-awake. And actually, my story could have another explanation--such as, that the message I left my dad on his cell phone was never picked up, and so bounced back to my phone at a random hour. That had occurred to me, but, well, it's still an odd coincidence. So I'm not sure what to make of it. Nevertheless, I continue to hold fast to my belief in ghosts. The world is just a little more exciting that way.

And by the way, "hypnopompic" is an awesome word. I actually had to look it up, and it's going straight to my vocabulary list! Thanks!

Veresna said...

My parents and I were renting a condo for a week in the Orlando, FL area. I was in my twenties. We had brought my parents' cat with us and she stayed very close to us the entire time and we would see her staring very intently at things that appeared to be behind us, though we heard and saw nothing. Late one night, my parents were in bed in their room and I was laying in my bed reading when I heard the door open (as in the doorknob being turned) and I kept reading, thinking it was my dad poking his head in to see if I was still awake. I had the definite feeling of someone watching me, but just kept reading until I was finished with the page and then went, "What do you want?" as I turned around to look at the door. For a moment, I was puzzled as the door was ajar and there was no one there...and then it SLAMMED shut. So, I laid in bed with my heart racing for a moment and then finally got the courage to get up and check into the hallway and my parents bedroom (where I found them both sleeping peacefully). I managed to stay in that room for the rest of the time, but it was with the door kept open by a chair and the hallway light on, although I had no other encounters. Years later, when I finally got the courage to tell my mother about it, she confided that she had hated staying there, because every time she was alone there and on the second floor, she would hear voices coming from the ground floor, just low enough that she couldn't make out words, but every time she would start down the stairs, it would abruptly stop. We had also noticed that the housekeeping staff always did very hasty, slip-shod work, which was NOT the case for the other units we had stayed in at the same complex, so we finally concluded that we were not the only ones who felt there was something supernatural going on in the unit.


Leah said...

Veresna--SO spooky. I'm impressed that you managed to stick it out. I wonder what events had transpired in that particular place to make it