ghosts · Horror · short stories · Weird Stuff

Ghostly Goings-on: Readers Respond

Read about some real-life ghostly encounters…

Recently I asked some readers whether they had ever experienced anything haunting, otherworldly, or just plain odd. I wasn’t sure whether anyone would respond, but I actually received a surprising number of replies – and some truly odd stories. Here are some of the best…

From Kaylor, we have this haunting story:

I have had a couple of run-ins with ghostly phenomena. One when I was a child at my grandparents’ house. And one more recently while I was away at college. The college story is a bit more exciting to tell. 

To give you a bit of background on the main run-in, here’s a bit of history/connected events. My freshman year of college, I lived in a dorm building that, I kid you not, backed up to a graveyard. You could see the graves from the computer lab window on the first floor. Talk about spooky! 

Whenever my roommate was gone from the room, I liked leave the door cracked open for the other girls on the floor in case they wanted to stop by for a chat. But anytime I did that, I’d swear I’d see someone standing just inside the doorway, right beside my wardrobe. But I’d only see them in my peripheral vision. If I turned toward that spot, the feeling was gone. I couldn’t explain it, so I’d forget about it.

Well, one night my roommate left the room for a while, leaving the door open a bit. I was sitting at my desk working. My desk faced a wall, so my back was to the room. As I was sitting there I felt like someone crossed the room behind me, going from the door to the window on the opposite side of the room. Figuring it was my roommate returning for a forgotten item, I casually glanced over my shoulder in the direction of her bed. But there was no one there. I shrugged it off and went back to working. A few minutes later, I got the same sensation. Someone walked behind me going from the door to the window. By that time, I was thoroughly creeped out! In an effort to calm down enough to sleep that night, I asked out loud (but still quietly) if the “presence” was my deceased uncle and if so, could he stop walking around the room? It seemed to work!

Not long after that, my roommate came back for the night. I didn’t say anything to her (since we weren’t really close, and I didn’t need her thinking she lived with a nutcase…) and for the rest of the year I never felt that sensation again. I still had the sense of someone standing in the doorway whenever I left it cracked, but not of anyone entering the room…

The Old Hall by John Anster Fitzgerald, circa 1875. Public domain image c/o Wikimedia Commons.

From Audrey, meanwhile, we have this tale of ghostly echoes from the past:

When I was about nine, I went to stay in my grandma’s house for a little while. It was in a town, in a large square. I was sleeping in the spare bedroom while I was there, and one night I woke up and saw a figure moving across the room, from one side to another. He looked like he was wearing a robe and a hood, like a monk, and he didn’t pay any attention to me. What surprised me most was that he looked like he was about eight feet tall. When he reached the wall, he just seemed to vanish.

I didn’t feel threatened or frightened, and in fact I just went straight back to sleep. In the morning, when I told my grandma about the experience, she told me it was probably just a dream. For a while, I believed her.

Then in the school holidays I went to stay at my grandma’s house again, this time with my sister. We were both sleeping in the guest room this time. I slept well, no problems at all, but one morning my sister asked my grandma: “Why did the tall man in the hood walk through the room last night?”

I was amazed, and for a while I couldn’t explain it. The experience stuck in my head for a long time. Years later, I did some research into the place where my grandma’s house had been built, and I found out that there had once been a monastery there.

Image credit: Rajesh Misra

Grace tells this story about a very haunting dream:

Years ago I had a dream in which I was walking along this long path, with trees on both sides. There was a man standing beside one of the trees, and it seemed to me that I’d seen him before, though I couldn’t remember where.

He greeted me and said “Hi”, and we talked for a little while (I can’t remember what we talked about). I noticed that he looked very ill, and I asked him what was wrong.

“I’m not well,” he said. “I’m dying.”

The dream ended there, and I woke up. I remember that my alarm clock read 5.45 in the morning. I thought little more of the dream, but just went back to sleep.

The next day I learned that my uncle, who had moved abroad when I was younger, had died of cancer. And, believe it or not, I found out that he’d passed away just before six o’clock in the morning.

And from Linda we have this reminder that ghosts can be gentle and loving:

My grandmother died nine days before my baby sister was born. Her crib was in my room. I woke up one night and when I looked over towards the crib, my grandmother was standing by the crib looking at my sister.

So there you have it: strange tales with unexpected twists, from people just like you and me. Sceptics may scoff all they like, but perhaps not everything can be accounted for in purely rational terms, or by the lights of what we already know about our universe. This world, my friends, is truly a strange one…

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