Thursday, November 01, 2018

Stranger than Fiction: That Time I Saw A Ghost

After a little over five years writing supernatural thrillers, it occurred to me the other day that some folks might be wondering what my fascination is with the genre. To that end, I set out to catalog the many experiences I've had, and the stories I've been told by people I personally know.

Coming November 24th, I'm releasing these tales as a non-fiction book, Stranger than Fiction: A Skeptic's Journey. Leading up to that release, I'll be posting some of my stories here, twice a week. 

To kick things off, here's a story of spookiness that might have you wondering, why is he still a skeptic...?

It was 1988, and I was in a dysfunctional relationship with a young lady I'll call "Rhoda". Rhoda lived with her grandparents, who had adopted her when she was very young. The trio lived in a large house with two upper floors, a walkout basement, and a sub-basement, and which, according to Rhoda, was haunted. 

While I didn't believe the house was haunted, I did believe that Rhoda and her grandmother were scared to be alone when the grandfather went out of town on business, so I often agreed to spend the night on the weekends, sleeping in a guest room. On one of these nights, I got a little more than I bargained for, in the form of a spectral visitor.

On this particular night, Rhoda's grandmother had already gone to bed, leaving us alone to watch late night TV. Rhoda had acquired several puppies that summer, and they slept outside in a miniature barn of sorts near the house. This night, the puppies were being very noisy, barking and yapping without end. I assumed they had seen a deer in the large field behind the house, but Rhoda insisted I go check on them. I grudgingly went outside with a flashlight to see what was wrong.

The mini barn was a fair distance from the house, and the back side—the side with the stalls—was unlit. It also faced out to a large field, nearly football field-sized, that had a forest on the other side. 

As I stood at the stall door, looking down at the dogs and checking each one to make sure they weren’t injured, I felt a cool chill on my right side, facing in the same direction as the house. The chill rapidly moved across my back, then all up and down the lefthand side of my body, then vanished. It was as though a wind had whipped up, but without the movement of any air. I had never experienced anything like it.
As I stood there, confused, noticing there was no wind, something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention, and I turned to the left. Behind the house and stalls, right in the middle of that large field, there was a single tree. Behind this tree, someone was watching me—someone dressed all in white, from head to toe.

As a very young child, I remember making “ghosts” in school. We took little balls of tissue, then draped another tissue over them, putting a rubberband around the neck, to create a little ghost. This is actually what the figure I was seeing looked like: a person, draped in a white cloth, tight around their neck and hands. And, I could see through the shrouded figure—they were translucent.

As soon as I saw them, my observer reacted. They seemed startled, then dove forward, as if to go prone on the ground. Only the translucent figure didn’t just land on the ground, they passed into it, vanishing from sight.

I stood there for a moment, shocked. Had I just seen what I thought I’d seen? I struggled to play the memory back in my head. Surely, I was seeing things.

For one, I was having a problem believing it was a spirit I’d just seen. But I was also having a problem with where who, or what, had gone. I mowed that field regularly, and there was no depression or hole next to that lone tree—nowhere for anyone to go unless they actually passed into the ground.

I turned my head slowly from side to side, thinking that just maybe some light had played across my glasses, creating the illusion. Try as I might, several times, I couldn’t replicate what I had just seen.

I bid the dogs a good night and hurried back into the house. 

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