Have you ever seen a ghost? Even when you did not believe in them? I would be interested to hear your stories as we enter the time when the ‘veil between the worlds’ is supposedly thin….here is my story….do leave yours as a comment on this post.
An imaginative child, I found going upstairs to bed scary most nights, having probably heard too many ghost stories as I grew up in the storm-tossed Outer Hebrides – home to many a Celtic tale of the otherworld of the supernatural.
There was the woman wrapped in plaid who jostled my maternal grandfather in the winter dark as he traversed the remote, eerie Uig Glen. There was my maternal great-grandmother’s hearing the wheels of lorries rumbling through her remote village toward a deserted headland – many years before they actually came, bearing the materials to build an RAF station there. There was at least one ghost car. There were the shades of the dead appearing to those few in possession of the Sight – sure harbingers of imminent family death. There were ghostly lights luring sailors to their deaths in stormy seas. More has been forgotten than I could ever now recall.
Fortunately for me, vivid imagination has always sat in tandem with a strongly empirical streak. So I was a true sceptic –– until the day I saw a ghost for myself….
Perthshire, Scotland, Autumn 1977
It was the autumn of 1977. My twenties had been turbulent. Restless wandering – from one career to another, one city to another, one set of friendships to another, and one dwelling place to another – characterised the whole decade. Now, I was in a mood to settle. Time to face my dissatisfactions, rather than running away when novelty wore off and disillusion set in.
Resolution thus colouring my mood, I left Dundee in September 1977 to do my social work training at Glasgow University. Having been such a hippie in my twenties, all I owned could be fitted into several boxes and stowed in the back of my old blue Morris Traveller.
I set off to spend a night or two, en route to my new abode in Glasgow, with my boyfriend at the time who lived in the scenic market town of Perth, half way between Dundee and Glasgow. The Dundee to Perth road was mostly dual carriageway, and a distance of about twenty five miles. I drove happily through the area known as the Carse of Gowrie, which grew the best raspberries in Britain. “Pity I’m in a hurry”, I thought. “A few raspberries for supper would be nice.” It was a clear evening, around seven pm, growing dusk. There was very little traffic on the road. A few miles outside Perth, my headlights picked out a male cyclist on a racing bike, a little way ahead of me. I pulled into the overtaking lane to pass him – and he vanished.
I arrived at Peter’s flat very shaken by this experience. “I can’t believe I imagined it. What I saw was definitely a cyclist. He was as substantial on that road as you are, standing right now in your kitchen !”
Peter was quiet for a few moments. He looked thoughtful, as if trying to decide whether to say something or not. At last he told me that a young male cyclist had been killed on that stretch of road a year or so previously. This was something of which I had no knowledge. Why should his ghost appear to me?
“Firstly, because you’re so sensitive anyway. Cast your mind back to some other odd happenings which have occurred since we’ve been together. Secondly, your life is in transition. I think at those times, normal consciousness is more porous, as it were. Impressions from other layers of ‘reality’ find it easier to seep through….”
I remember feeling quite relieved that I wouldn’t be travelling on that stretch of road for the foreseeable future….
NOTE: this story is an extract from “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness – a sceptic’s take on paranormal experience “ which will be available as a downloadable pdf from this site shortly. If you’d like to be informed of the publication date, do send your email address to me at: email@example.com, titling the email “Dazzling Darkness book”.
700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
11 thoughts on “Even sceptics see ghosts !”
Thank you Anne.
I could not but laugh because once upon a time I experienced a ghost myself together with a girlfriend who never believed “in such fantasies”.
The two of us visited a farm up in the northren part of Norway, and one night (the sun shining all night long in the summer) slept in one of the old houses on the farm; when both of us heard footsteps in the attic and the steps continued down the staircase into our bed room – thank heaven not to be alone. An eldery lady dressed in clothing from approximately around the 1950s appeared through the ceiling…..She was looking at us with curiosity it seems (who are these strangers?) and vanished in front of us.
My friend and I, ran out of the old guest-house, into the main farm house to sleep the rest of the night. The friend was shocked to the bone for the rest of the night.
Nobody else on the farm but the two of us stayed there at the time.
Later on it was reported to have happened to others as well. And the story is told that it is an old lady who lived in the cabin (it is built in 1850). Nowadays used as the guest-house, and the lady died in 1952.
P.S. What if there are parallell worlds?
Many thanks for this interesting and spooky tale, Inger Lise. I have heard similar stories from many people who up until they – like me! – saw one for themselves did not believe in ghosts. Seeing is believing?
You are a blessing Anne.
Many a time I have asked myself the one question:What do you really believe?…is it possible to convince anybody who has not experienced it themselves?
Question two is what is there for us to learn in seeing “the long gone” figures ? Is it eventually to overcome the fear of Death ?
Recalling some fighter pilots, two companions of my husband back in the 1970s, told of having seen a Ghost at night where they slept. And when the rumours of what they had experienced came to the ear of the their Commander, all hell broke loose. They were given the choice of quitting their jobs as pilots. The Air-Force could not use officers who claimed to see ghosts.
Laughs, Inger Lise.
Well, that’s quite a story, Inger Lise! Our whole culture has enormous difficulty now with experiences which lie in those realms beyond what can be experienced through the five senses – and we are all the poorer for that, I think.
Love that your Peter was quiet and thoughtful….he must have cared about you……love his insights as well……don’t know that I have ever seen a ghost, don’t think I want to…..
Thanks for dropping by, Bev. The thing about paranormal manifestations of any kind,including ghosts, is that one cannot summon them to order or create a file inside one’s head saying “No thanks, not in this brain” …..no wonder reductionist methods have very little success in ‘proving’ or ‘disproving’ the existence of such things. And I hope I never see another ghost, either!It’s an extremely unsettling experience.
I don’t have any reason to doubt that ghosts roam the land – at least from this perspective. The word for spirit in German is “geist” – from which we get our “ghost”. Can anyone doubt that the spirits of the departed can be experienced, just as we can experience the presence of someone separated by geography?
The etymological argument for ghosts!
Thanks, Linda. I am always open to etymological arguments – especially concerning arcane topics!
I was a teenager living in an old farmhouse with two older women who were out for the evening. Being on my own was a familiar situation, so I wasn’t concerned and was in bed reading, with their cat keeping me company. Then we heard heavy footsteps down the passageway past my half closed door. The cat’s fur spiked out, and terrified she dashed under the bed – this did not make me feel too comfortable so I crept out of bed, grabbed something heavy from my room and threw the door open to confront whatever was there. Which was nothing. To be seen anyway. I then checked right through the house, including the front and back doors, and nothing was amiss. So I went back to bed but didn’t sleep too soundly. At breakfast the next morning I mentioned the previous night’s events, and they said they’d had similar experiences there, and weren’t concerned. One of the women was Irish, and I believe quite fey, although in the early 70’s in Australia, that sort of thing wasn’t talked about much.
Over the years, other animal companions have exhibited various reactions to situations beyond my ken, and I’ve had my own ‘visions’ for want of a better term, and have no doubt there’s much out there that most are not aware of.
Reincarnation was something I was sceptical about, until I had my own experiences using the Edgar Cayce protocol and that changed my mind.
Many thanks for this intriguing tale, Eremophila, which adds to the large body of experiential evidence that we live in a multi-levelled universe where much lies ‘beyond our ken’. I’d be most interested to hear about the reincarnation experience – what about a guest post if you feel like going public with it? If not, I completely understand but would be interested to hear about it, perhaps via email?
Yes, I’ll get back to you on that Anne.